Drug Safety: If the Date Is Late, It’s Not Safe

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 1/5/2018, 6:38 a.m.
Coming into a new year we all get this sense to throw out the old and welcome in the new. ...

*What happens if I miss a dose? The general rule is to take the dose as soon as you remember you missed it. Unless your next dose is really close. Dr. North advises his patients that if their next dose is within two-to-four hours to wait and just miss that dose and then pick up with their regular schedule of the medication.

*Where should I store the medication? Improper storage could make a drug become ineffective. Read your labels and/or ask your pharmacist if in doubt.

*How should I feel when taking the medication? You want to know how you should feel to know what is normal. If you feel anything different you may be having a bad reaction to the drug in which case your doctor and pharmacist can find a medication that works better for you.

So you have gone through your entire medicine cabinet and you’re ready to toss out your expired drugs. The first thought might be to flush them. Don’t do that. Dr. Charles said since certain drugs may be biohazardous it is safer to not flush them to avoid potential problems like water pollution. This is also why the FDA advises to not use this method as well. It has gotten to the point where Texas even requires that medications have ‘Do Not Flush’ labeling according to Dr. North to prevent such incidents.

The FDA offers a step-by-step way to dispose of drugs.

*Mix – Mix medicines with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds.

*Place – Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag.

*Throw – Throw the container in your household trash.

*Scratch Out – Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, and then dispose of the container.

Also be on the lookout for 'Take Back Medicine Day' events. Sponsored by the DEA, these events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. The next Take Back Day is scheduled for April 28, 2018, or visit the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Control Division website (apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov) to locate a year-round authorized collector in your area.

Get 2018 started off the healthy way by disposing of expired drugs and utilizing your pharmacist for drug management. Remember if the date is late, it’s not safe.