How to ‘Spring Clean' Your Medicine Cabinet – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Most of us have old prescription drugs or over the counter medicine that’s now expired.
Maybe you think you’ll use it someday, or maybe you simply forgot you had them
However, health experts agree-medications past their prime may not work the way they’re supposed to.
“The potential harm in taking expired medication is that it may have lost some of its potency,” Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University School of Pharmacy, said.
It can also be dangerous if you have kids or pets.
“We have had children who have gotten into the trash and gotten mediations that have made them severely ill,” Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz said.
NBC 5 Responds talked with Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz and Dr. Annesha White, Sr. Associate Dean for the University of North Texas College of Pharmacy, about prescriptions and when and how to get rid of them.
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“You’re not just looking for expired medications, but anything that’s not being used any longer should be dispensed,” Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz said.
So, what’s the best way to do it?
“The best suggestion is to take your expired medications to a pharmacy or a public health-sponsored medication disposal site,” Dr. White said.
You can visit your local pharmacists to get a disposal bag and bring it back to a drop-off location.
“The gold standard for medication disposal is incineration and how to the general public accesses that is usually through take-back programs“, said Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz.
There are steps you can take in the home, like putting the medicine in a sealable plastic bag with water to help it dissolve. You can also add kitty litter or coffee grounds.
Expired medications should be disposed of in the trash the day you know the trash is to be picked up to reduce the risk of someone or a pet getting into the trash and taking it.
The expiration date is typically printed or stamped on the medicine bottle or carton, following the tag EXP.
The DEA reports collecting 372,000 tons of medications during the last drug take-back day in October 2021.

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