What should you do with leftover medicines

Medicines start losing their power after the expiry dates.

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Last Updated on November 6, 2022 by The Health Master

What should you do with leftover medicines

Leftover/ expired medicines might induce a lethal effects on the body when consumed

We consume medicine regularly. Some of us consume medicine on a daily basis for several reasons.

But have you noticed that apart from the regular tablets and pills, the medicine box is usually littered with hundreds of other medicines which are rarely used?

This habit of medicine piling, despite not being in use, needs to be rectified.

​I might need it again​

Many people do not throw away the files of unused medicines with the thought that what if they get the same disease or infection again?

These medicines might come in handy during that time.

The very thought that medicine cured them of a severe disease does not allow them to throw it away.

They hold on to the remains of the life-saving drug and hope to get treated by it again.

It is important to understand that doctors only prescribe medications after carefully weighing all relevant factors.

It is uncertain whether the biological well-being of your body would remain the same when you have the same infection next time.

So, do not hoard the medicine and instead consult your doctor every time you have an infection.

​The perils of consuming expired or even unprescribed medicines​

Old files of tablets often lose the printed dates of expiration.

This could lead to a dangerous accident, especially if you are keeping several other packets in the same box where your regular medicines are.

Some medicines are fatal in nature when they are consumed outside of their expiration duration. One needs to be extremely careful about this.

It is also important to understand that a medicine that works for one person may not work for another.

​Here’s what you should do:​

Discard the medicines once their expiry date is reached but do it responsibly

If you are regularly consuming medicines, maintain a diary and make a note of the expiry dates

Keep the medicines out of reach of kids

Even if you want to store some medicines which are mild in nature, always check their dates before consuming them

Drugs, like expired cytotoxic drugs and items contaminated with cytotoxic drugs, are to be returned back to the manufacturer or supplier for incineration

In order to avoid the risk of faulty consumption, empty the boxes of medicines in the trash box

You can also flush the medicines in the toilet

A 2021 research study on “Disposal Practices of Unused and Leftover Medicines in the Households of Dhaka Metropolis” found that almost all (87%) households faced undesired incidents due to the insecure storage of medicines.

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What happens to medicines when they expire?​

A medicine’s potency depends on its expiry date, and this is the reason why expiry dates are mentioned on the packets.

The expiry dates are mentioned in distinct colors and fonts in order to make it clear to the consumer about it.

Medicines start losing their power after the expiry dates.

Though it is not known at what pace they lose their effectiveness, it is a golden rule that post expiry the medicines are either useless or they are dangerously active and it is best to avoid them.

The shelf life of medicines also depends on temperature, light, and humidity.

Therefore if you wish to store the medicines for longer use, follow the instructions given on the packaging.

​How to dispose of old medical equipment?​

Those who regularly use syringes or sharps should also dispose of them properly and carefully.

Haphazard disposal of this equipment can cause injury to sanitary workers.

Do not throw them in the trash can without layering them up with papers or small bags.

Pack it properly so that its sharp edges are not harmful to cut anything.

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