Source: Wilf Senior Living
Many people don’t see the harm in taking a medication that is slightly out of date, assuming that the drug will still have some effect on their current ailment. And if it’s a bottle of aspirin that expired a month ago, they’re probably right. But here are just some of the problems with keeping expired medications around the house:
• Some medications undergo chemical changes over time, which may actually make them dangerous. The problem is that no one really knows what happens to drugs over time, so there’s no real way to know. Better to be safe and throw them out.
• Expired medications may produce harmful effects with other drugs you’re currently on. For instance, if you’re on a medication that has a side effect of lowering your blood pressure, and the expired medication has the same side effect, this could cause serious problems.
• Medication you “still have left,” may not perform the way it’s supposed to, with potentially dangerous results — especially if the medication is something that could potentially be life-saving, such as nitroglycerin or insulin.
Be sure to dispose of expired and no-longer-used medications safely. Find out if your community or pharmacist has a drug take-back program. Visit the Office of Diversion Control’s National Take-Back Initiative web page to see if there’s a convenient location where you can dispose of any unwanted drugs you find during your medicine chest spring cleaning.
DO NOT flush medications down the toilet, as this can have harmful effects on our ecosystem. If a take-back program is not readily available, take the unwanted medication out of its container, put it in a sealable bag or disposable container and put in the trash. The Drug Enforcement Administration suggests mixing pills with coffee grounds or kitty litter to make them undesirable to substance abusers. Remove any personal/private information from the pill bottle and place that in the trash as well.
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living Residence, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation. For more information, visit WilfCampus.org.