Brushing up on medication safety

I recently wrote a piece about medication safety for the women’s health magazine Spry. I interviewed pharmacists and other health care experts about things that we do that undermine our efforts to use medicine safely and effectively.

One tip really stood out for me. I know that old or expired meds are not nearly as effective as fresher ones, but I never thought much about how to properly dispose of old drugs. My family typically keeps medicine on dusty cabinet shelves for years until we finally move and sweep the contents of the shelf into a big garbage bag. But I’m rethinking that strategy in light of my research.

Currently, there is an almost empty bottle of amoxicillin in my fridge. My son recently took the prescribed ten-day regimen of the medicine for strep throat, but there was a smidge left in the bottle. Out of habit, I just stuck the bottle back in the refrigerator. In the past, I might have just poured it down the sink or thrown it into the garbage can. But from my research, I know that I shouldn’t just pour the rest down the garbage disposal. Too many people have resorted to that disposal technique, and the effects are showing up in our water. Yikes. So I’ll be researching the best way to handle that almost-empty bottle instead.

I love it when I learn something from my work that’s really useful for my own life.

You can read the whole article, titled “7 Common Medicine Mistakes–and How to Avoid Them” on the magazine’s website.


About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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One Response to Brushing up on medication safety

  1. Shab says:

    I tried to give my expired meds to the pharmacy (I figured they have to get rid of expired meds pretty often, right?). Well, they wouldn’t take it. I’d be interested to know the best place to take them when you find out!

    It has been too long and I don’t remember where they suggested I take the expired meds. I think I had read somewhere that trashing them was much better than pouring out/etc so I always dispose of leftovers directly in the trash without emptying them if they’re liquids. Looking forward to reading your piece!

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