MEDICATION TIPS: Learn some valuable tips for dealing with old medications, including not throwing them in the toilet or bin.
MEDICATION TIPS: Learn some valuable tips for dealing with old medications, including not throwing them in the toilet or bin. alvarez

Dealing with your old medications

YOU don't need to toss old medications down the toilet or in the rubbish bin as there is a much better alternative to dealing with them.

Pharmacist Kerry Teed says you should take them to your local pharmacy. There the staff will strip them of their identity and ready them for collection and safe disposal by the Return Unwanted Medicines program.

It's a small thing to do, but it's safe, free and will help the environment.

If a widower finds medicines belonging to someone else in their home, Mrs Teed advises: "you should never use someone else's medications unless the doctor has specifically prescribed that same medication and that same dose".

So, when cleaning up the house, any medications left behind should be taken to your local pharmacy.

Expiry dates

The expiry date will be on a box or bottle or embossed on the blisters. "Always check the expiry dates," Mrs Teed says. "Don't use them beyond the expiry dates."

If it's out of date, take it to your local pharmacy for disposal. "Beyond the expiry date you can't be sure of the efficacy," Mrs Teed says.


Keep your medications stored as recommended by the manufacturer.

Read the details of use and storage on the box and on the information inside or ask your pharmacist.

Store them below 25 degrees except those that need refrigeration between two and eight degrees.

Storing your medications in the bathroom may not be a good choice as they may be affected by the humidity in there. "A cool, dry place is best," Mrs Teed recommends.

If a medication has sat in the cupboard for a while and is still in date, it can be used. But, if the condition you are treating doesn't respond to the medication then you need to talk to your GP or pharmacist.

You also need to consider that if you have started other medications during that time, then there may be interactions between the new and old medications. This is where it is important to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking any medications.

Last word

"Don't just stop taking a medication because you heard something on the TV or a neighbour told you something," Mrs Teed says. "It can have a bad effect. Some medications shouldn't be stopped suddenly."


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