man checking his medication

Spring Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet

Advice for Clearing Out Outdated Medications

Spring is here and as the weather warms and flowers bloom, many of us itch to declutter our homes from a season spent mostly indoors. While you’re spring cleaning your kitchen pantry and closets, it’s also important to clean out one forgotten area — your medicine cabinet.

Here are some tips to help you clean out the clutter:

Check the Dates

Many medications lose their effectiveness after their expiration date and could be potentially harmful. For prescription medications, check the side of your bottle to find the expiration date. You should always discard medications that are more than a year old.

This goes for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, ointments, and supplements as well. While their shelf life tends to be longer (some could last about 4-5 years), you should give them a check and throw anything away that is outdated.

Check for Changes in Color

Every medication you receive from the pharmacy will have a description on the label to tell you what size and color your pill should look like. If anything is unmarked, that should go as well.

If your medicine is old or has been exposed to humidity, it could change colors. If this is the case, toss the medication and call your doctor for a refill if necessary. You may also want to consider moving your medication to a dry, cool place to avoid issues in the future.

Check for Duplicates

If you have a chronic condition and take routine medication to manage your health, you may have changed doses in the past year. At times, these old prescriptions tend to stick in the back of your medicine cabinet, but can still be confusing if they become intermingled with your new prescriptions. If the script is outdated, be sure to throw it away to avoid taking the wrong dose.

Be Careful with Disposal

Check within your community to learn more about the guidelines for safe pharmaceutical disposal. Some local pharmacies, police departments, hospitals, or other municipalities may have a program to ensure medications are not flushed and are being disposed of the right way. Some general safety tips include:

  • Sealing your medicine in a bag.
  • Never flushing medications.
  • Remove any identifying information such as prescription labels.

Need help telling which medications to toss or to keep? Check in with your doctor at Pinnacle HealthCare!

California & Arizona Urgent Care for the Entire Family

Pinnacle HealthCare is proud to be a trusted leading provider in family practice and general primary care services, offering a wide range of testing and screenings, as well as managing your overall health and well-being to the best extent.

If you’re in need of medical care this spring, visit one of our convenient office locations today, or for more information, contact us at: (831) 387-7177.