Your Medications Are Most Effective When They Are Current

Over time, many patients find that they have saved a lot of medications used to treat headaches, colds, coughs and infections. This collection can grow and become dangerous if you don’t check it regularly to make sure the medicines are still needed and not expired.  The expiration date on a drug is the date a manufacture can guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug. If the expiration date has passed and you want medicine that is 100% effective, you may need to consider taking something else.

Pills spilled on the table

Know Your Current Medications

Keep a record of your current medications and update this record when any changes happen. Your provider may change the medication you are taking or change the way you take your medication. If this happens, you should dispose of your previous medication. Storing unused medications in an easily accessible cabinet can put your loved ones in danger. According to results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, unused prescription drugs were the most common source of misuse and diversion in teens.

Take Medications as Directed

All medications should be taken as directed, and antibiotics in particular should be taken as directed and until you finish all of the medication. It is important to take all of the antibiotic medication that is prescribed to you. Do not stop taking it if you start to feel better because stopping suddenly can minimize the effect of any antibiotics you may be prescribed in the future.

Should I Clean Out My Medicine Cabinet?

It is a good idea to do a yearly review of all the medicine in your home to look for medications that haven’t been used. Every prescription has an expiration date on the label. This date indicates when the medication should no longer be used. If your medication is expired it may work less effectively and may not treat your health condition. If you have unused or expired medication:

  • The Denver Health Primary Care Pharmacy has a medication take-back drop box for patients. Feel free to drop off any non-controlled unused or expired medications in this box.
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency also has information about take back events where members can drop off unused or expired medications. Visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov
Author
Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer