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Your Healthy Family: Spring clean your medicine cabinet - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Spring clean your medicine cabinet

Medications can begin to break down and become less effective or even become toxic after their expiration dates. Medications can begin to break down and become less effective or even become toxic after their expiration dates.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

If you're planning to do some spring cleaning, make sure your medicine cabinet is on your to do list.  Medications can begin to break down and become less effective or even become toxic after their expiration dates.

Chris Martin is the Pharmacy Manager at UCHealth Memorial, and says, "Medications are usually good for a year from the time that they are filled.  If it's past that day go ahead and throw it out.  You also want to take a look at the tablets make sure they're not stuck together or that they are not breaking down.  If they're in a state where they simply don't look like they did when you picked them up, go and throw them away".

It’s also important to know that controlled substances, such as pain killers need to be disposed of differently than other medications says Martin.

"Antibiotics or blood pressure medicines or anything like that, that you're not using anymore  you can throw away in household trash.  Make sure you put it in a sealed container, and mix it up with something that's going to make it unusable like coffee grounds or kitty litter.  If it's a controlled substance you need to take it to an authorized collector.  You can find a list of those places on the DEA’s website for our area, or you can wait for the DEA take back days, that usually happen twice a year, in the spring and fall."

Older recommendations use to be to flush old medication down the toilet but it's best to keep those out of the water supply.  Also when it comes to getting rid of old pill bottles Martin says make sure to protect your privacy.

"If you do choose to throw your medications away, or take them to an authorized collector,  make sure you remove the label.  You can also scratch out, or mark out your your personal health information so it’s not compromised."

Getting rid of old medications will make your home a safer place, and help fight the prescription drug abuse epidemic in our country.  For a list of take back locations across Colorado go to

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/colorado-medication-take-back-program

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