Having a cabinet full of medicine is a necessary part of any household. As some of you may already know, I’ve taken necessary precautions to dedicate a safe storage space for my family’s medications as you can see here. Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to re-evaluate the safety of your family’s medicine cabinet and clean out your household supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.
When was the last time you cleaned out your household supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines?
As a busy mother of three kids, I know how hard it is to dedicate time for spring cleaning and purging of old, outdated items that no longer serve our needs. But like I always say, the hardest part is getting started! Make a commitment this week to dedicate one hour to this very important and necessary step to becoming a healthier, safer and clutter-free household.
The hardest part is getting started! Make a commitment this week to dedicate one hour to this very important and necessary step to becoming a healthier, safer and clutter-free household.
After dedicating a high and out-of-reach space to store our family’s medicines, I went through all the contents for unwanted, unused and expired medication. I was shocked to discover that about 20% of the contents were expired, even the ones in brand new, unopened packaging!
It’s important to check the expiration date on your OTCs because once a medicine has reached its expiration date, it may not be able to provide the treatment you need. It’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to medication, don’t you agree?
After you clean out your medicine cabinet, do you know how to properly dispose of your OTCs once they have expired? If you’re unsure, you’re not alone.
According to Harris Poll research conducted on behalf of the CHPA’s Educational Foundation:
- 62% of adults have never sought information on how to properly dispose of their unwanted or expired over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.
- 50% of adults say they typically dispose of unwanted or expired OTC meds in the trash, but only 8% mix them with undesirable substances before tossing.
How to safely dispose your over-the-counter medicine (OTCs)
The good news is that in-home medicine disposal of all OTCs is safe and convenient. Follow these three simple steps from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dispose of OTCs in your household trash:
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds.
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag.
- Throw the container in your household trash.
In addition to in-home disposal, you can also take advantage of local disposal programs and community take-back days. Check to see if your local pharmacy has a safe medicine disposal program; many have in-store disposal kiosks or provide them to local law enforcement agencies that allow the disposal of unwanted, unused or expired medication – both OTC and prescription drugs.
The next U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 28.
I know it’s not easy to carve out time to clean out your medicine cabinet, but once it’s done you’ll feel so much better knowing that you’ve taken important steps to ensure safety and health of your family!
What do you think about these tips for safely disposing your OTC medicines? When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Please let me know in the comments below!