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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Get your medicine cabinet ready for spring

medicationsAt the first sign of warmer weather we start the spring ritual of cleaning out our homes, getting rid of the layer of things we collected over the winter. St. Joe’s pharmacist Jiten Jani reminds us that it’s also a good time to take a look at your medicine cabinet and ensure your medications are still effective and properly stored. Here, he shares five tips to help you keep your meds organized.

1. AVOID SHARING MEDICATIONS.
Never take prescription medications your doctor has not prescribed for you. Make sure your medications are labelled and used only by you.

2. CHECK THE EXPIRY DATES ON PRESCRIPTION AND OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS.
Expired medications can be ineffective when you really need them. Give any expired medications to your local pharmacy for disposal. Do not flush medications down the toilet; improper disposal can contaminate our water supply and ecosystems.

3. STORE MEDICATIONS IN THEIR ORIGINAL CONTAINERS OR BOTTLES.
Most medications should be stored in a dry place at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and out of children’s reach, while others may require refrigeration. Check the storage directions on the label. Storing prescriptions improperly can limit their effectiveness or even post serious safety risks.

4. REMEMBER HERBAL REMEDIES ARE ALSO DRUGS.
Many prescription medications were originally discovered from herbal products. If you are going to be starting any new herbal remedies, make sure to let your pharmacist know so they can check them against your current medications for any potentially harmful interactions.

5. USE A TRAVEL PACK TO KEEP YOURSELF ORGANIZED.
Planning a summer vacation? Do you have trouble remembering your medications? Use a pill case to stay organized. Always pack your pills in your carry-on so you have them even if your luggage is lost.

Every year, visit your pharmacist to do a Medscheck to make sure all your medications are up to date and confirm you still need to take all of them. If you are coming to St. Joe’s for an appointment, bring a list of all of your current medications, including vitamins and inhalers, with you.

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