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Pharmacists Encourage Consumers to Practice Safe Medication Storage and Disposal

New Year Viewed as Good Time to Clean Out Medicine Cabinets

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Americans look forward to the coming year and begin considering their New Year's resolutions, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is encouraging the public to resolve to clean out their medicine cabinets -- a task that pharmacists recommend be conducted at least once a year.

Because each season brings a host of new illnesses and conditions, it's easy for medicine cabinets to become cluttered with unused or expired prescription, over-the-counter medication, vitamins and herbals that can potentially be harmful to one's health. Hanging onto old, expired or unused medications can increase the chances of taking the wrong one. Old expired medications can lose their potency thus reducing or providing no value to the condition being treated, and unused medications have the potential to be abused and misused by teens.

"Medications play a vital role in treating certain conditions and diseases, but they must be taken and handled with care," said Kristen Binaso pharmacist and APhA spokesperson. "Consumers should be aware that if medications are disposed of incorrectly, they could potentially harm the environment, pets and/or children. If people follow a few simple steps when storing and disposing of medications it can have positive implications for their personal health and their family's health."

Tips for Storing and Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet or Other Medication Storage Areas:

  • Medications should be stored in a secured area that has low humidity, a stable temperature and adequate lighting.
  • Check the date on everything in your medicine cabinet and dispose of anything that has passed the expiration date.
  • Properly dispose of anything you have not used in the past 12 months.
  • Properly dispose of any prescription medications you no longer need. Do not share prescription medications with others.
  • Properly dispose of medicines no longer in their original container or that can no longer be identified.
  • Properly dispose of medicines that have changed color, odor or taste.
  • Talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions regarding medications within your household.
  • Do not flush unused medications and do not pour them down a sink or drain. Be proactive and properly dispose of unused medications in the household trash. Follow these easy steps before disposing in the trash:
  • Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.) add water to dissolve it.
  • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
  • Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

Visit for more information about medication disposal and for a list of medications that should be flushed.

About the American Pharmacists Association (APhA)

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA members provide care in all practice settings, including community pharmacies, health systems, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, hospice settings, and the uniformed services.

SOURCE American Pharmacists Association

SOURCE American Pharmacists Association
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