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Parents urged to clean out medicine cabinets:

NPS is urging all Australians to clean out their medicine cabinets today as part of national Be Medicinewise Week 2012.
By Motherpedia
Date: March 30 2012
Tags: medicine, health,
Editor Rating:

New research from NPS found around 1 in 5 people reported ever having taken an expired medicine. 

NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says these people could be exposing themselves to dangerous consequences.

“If your fridge is overflowing with out-of-date, unwanted and damaged food, most of us don’t hesitate to clear it out, however we often don’t pay the same attention to our medicine cabinet,” says Dr Stowasser.

“But just like food past its use-by-date can go bad and make you sick, so too can out-of-date medicines.

“Most medicines slowly deteriorate over time which can make them less effective and in some cases, toxic. It’s dangerous to leave these lying around your house, which is why we are encouraging all Australians to spend a few minutes sorting through their medicine cabinet, identifying any medicines which are unwanted or expired, and disposing of these safely at their local pharmacy.”

Dr Stowasser says although it can be tempting to just throw your old medicines in the bin or down the sink, this is a not a good option.

“Medicines thrown down the sink can harm the environment and if you place them in your rubbish bins, there is a risk that children, wildlife or other animals may accidentally ingest them. Instead, take them to your local pharmacist who will be able to dispose of them safely.”

Medicinewise tips for cleaning out your medicine cabinet

  • Collect all the medicines in your house including creams, gels, eye drops, vitamins, prescription and non-prescription medicines. Don’t forget to check your handbag, car, bedside table, first aid and travel kits.
  • Look at the expiry date on the label or packaging of all medicines to check if they’re still in date.
  • Exclude medicines from your cabinet past their expiry date or that are no longer needed. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist or doctor. If a medicine has an expiry month, this means the end of that month.
  • Arrange to have any unwanted or out-of-date medicines disposed of by a pharmacy. You can return your medicines to any pharmacy for safe and easy disposal through the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project.
  • Note all your medicines using anNPS Medicines List to help keep track of them – available at  or as an app for your iPhone and iPad from the App Store.

For more information about the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project visit

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6 Total Comments
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