Expired Drugs… Stow or Throw

Expired Drugs…..Stow or Throw?

It’s a habit of mine to clear out my cupboards for the New Year and as usual I find that a good deal of medications in my personal household pharmacy are over their use-by-date.
Living in a place like Bali where a lot of people, including myself, stock up on medications from overseas (some of them very expensive!), many will store their medicines past the expiry date printed on the box.
A bad habit perhaps? Wrong. It is probably a sensible one according to a study done by the American FDA which found that most rehab near me bama drugs are labeled very conservatively as far as their shelf life is concerned, and that many are still potent up to 10 years after the given expiry date.
According to the FDA drugs “expire” on the date they’re projected to have lost 10 percent of their potency, which means they are still 90% effective, although the outdated drug is not as effective as the “fresh” drug.
Here are some tips on storing your medications and supplements that will maximise the life-span of your medication-cupboard collection:

• Factors that will shorten the lifespan of a drug are moisture, increased temperature, manufacturing impurities, and for some medications, light, so storing your medicines correctly has a big effect on the long-livety of your medications. I store most of mine in the fridge. ALWAYS take note of the manufacturers storage recommendations.
• Colloidal silver should NOT be stored near electronics or light. Best kept in a dark, cupboard and NOT in a fridge.
• Drugs such as phenobarbital, dilantin( for epilepsy), lidocaine (local anasthetic) and theophylline(asthma drug), lose potency fairly quickly and aren’t as effective once they’ve expired.
• Eye & ear drops should be discarded 2 weeks after they are opened, regardless of expiry dates as they lose their potency very quickly.
• Never use a medication (expired or not) that has changed color or consistancy.
• Less commonly, but potentially more serious, are reactions to some of the compounds formed as a drug ages. For example tetracycline (a commonly used antibiotic) breaks down it forms epitetracycline, which is known to cause problems.
• Store all your oil based medications (especially Vit E & Omega 3’s) in a cool, dark place. Preferrably a fridge, as rancid Vit E oil (inlcluding foods containing Vit E such as wheat germ) are highly toxic.

Generaly speaking most over-the-counter household medications are still safe if stored correctly, but may not be as effective as time increases.
When you are discarding drugs make sure you do so correctly so as not to expose children, pets etc to strong medications.

To safely dispose of your unused and expired medications in your household trash:
1. Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
2. Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds, (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat), to the plastic bag.
3. Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
4. Remove and destroy all identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

Kim Patra is a qualified Midwife & Nurse Practioner who has been living and working in Bali for over 30 years. She now runs her own Private Practice & Mothers & Babies center at her Community Health Care office in Sanur.
Kim is happy to discuss any health concerns that you have and may be contacted via email at info@chcbali.com or office phone number 0361-2775666

Copyright © 2015 Kim Patra
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