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The Importance of Regularly Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet

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When was the last time you checked your medicine cabinet? Not the last time you jumbled through it to find the pain killers or gas relief, but the last time you went to your medicine cabinet and sorted through the medications you have. Do you have any idea what’s expired? What pills you still need? Or more importantly, which pills are which? Most people don’t regularly clean out their medicine cabinet and end up finding out the hard way about what it contains – and what it doesn’t.


What Happens When You Don’t

Not cleaning out your medicine cabinet regularly might seem like no big deal, but the truth is it can have serious repercussions. This can include any of the following:

Improperly Medicating – Have you ever taken one pill and put it in another pill bottle just for safe keeping? Perhaps you couldn’t find the original container, so you used an old pill bottle for storage. Placing that in your medicine cabinet and forgetting about it could obviously lead to danger. Should someone else grab the bottle and take it, they could be using medications that are harmful to them. Sorting through your pill bottles and using resources like a pill finder can prevent this dangerous mistake from happening.  

Expired Medication – Whether you know it or not, medication has expiration dates on it. While it doesn’t necessarily mean the medicine is unsafe to take after the labeled date, what it does imply is that the medication is not as potent as it used to be. Though taking a less potent dose of meds won’t kill you, it certainly won’t provide the same level of relief you’re used to feeling, which could cause you to take more than you should.

Lack of Medicine – Another disadvantage to not cleaning out your medicine cabinet is not knowing what you have in it. Imagine having a really bad headache or stomachache and needing some medicine to feel better. However, when you check the medicine cabinet, the bottle is empty. Now, you’ve got to go to the store or contact the pharmacy to get refills. All of which won’t help your current circumstances.

Tips to Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet

Think of cleaning out your medicine cabinet like spring cleaning. Here are some ways to keep it stocked and organized:

·  Check it regularly – to keep up with expiration dates and the quantity of medication you have available it is ideal to check it regularly. While bi-annually might work best for some, if you take medications often you may need to check it quarterly or even monthly.  

·  Make a list – a great way to make sure you always have medicine in stock is to keep a list of what’s in the cabinet. You can attach it to the cabinet and update it as the quantity changes. This will keep you informed of when you need to visit a drug store, call the pharmacy for a refill, or visit your doctor for a new prescription.

·  Be sure to properly dispose of medication – When you no longer need medication or it has expired make sure that you properly dispose of it to keep you and your family safe. Prescription medication needs to be removed from the original container, crushed and thrown away. If you’re not comfortable with that option you should contact your local pharmacy about a disposal program where they will do the disposing for you. For no reason should you ever place the medication in the toilet, as it can get into the water supply and cause serious issues.

If that last time you checked your medicine cabinet was when you needed to find a painkiller you need to make some changes. It’s important to know what’s in your medicine cabinet. Not only does it keep you safe, but it ensures that you get the appropriate dose of medication for a speedy recovery.