Spring cleaning your house? Don’t forget the medicine cabinet

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Just as you may take the time to clean out your house every spring, it is important to clean out and restock your medicine cabinet once a year.

Expired prescription and over-the-counter medications can pile up. Experts recommend making a habit of disposing of all medications, especially prescription medications, when they are no longer needed.

“Many people store their medications in their bathroom medicine cabinet, “ said Charles Ponte, PharmD, professor of clinical pharmacy and family medicine at the West Virginia University schools of pharmacy and medicine. “What they may not realize is that this can cause medications to lose their potency and expire sooner than they think. The environment, due to running water from showers and baths, is hot and steamy. Medications may be affected by these temperature changes which cause them to degrade.”

A better location for medicines is storage that is away from children and in a safe, dry place outside the bathroom.

“Try using the linen closet perhaps, or someplace safe, that’s easily accessible and that’s not going to be subject to a lot of different changes in temperature,” Ponte said.

Restocking is also important. Essential items that are good to have in your medicine cabinet include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, antihistamine and a thermometer.

To watch a video health report produced at WVU on the subject see




For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ls/mm/el: 02-13-09

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