Spring clean your meds

Whenever the season changes from winter to spring it’s an ideal time for many of us to clear out lots of clutter and generally give our homes a thorough cleaning.

But if you take regular medication, it’s also the perfect opportunity to review your medicines.

Having a well-stocked, up-to-date medicine cabinet at home can make you prepared for common health ailments such as headaches, colds and flu. But if you keep several types of medicines at home – whether prescription or over-the-counter products (or both) – they need to be managed correctly. And that means having a clear out at least once a year.

Step one: make sure your medicines are stored properly. They should be kept in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, which means you should avoid putting them in a bathroom or kitchen cupboard where the air can be damp and hot. You should also keep your medicines out of the sight and reach of children, ideally in a cupboard or drawer that can be locked. Also some medicines may have to be stored in the fridge, away from food (always read the label and ask your pharmacist for advice if you’re not sure).

Step two: check the expiry dates of all your medicines. Any that are out of date or damaged should be returned to your local pharmacy for safe disposal (if possible, return them in their original packaging). Don’t flush them down the toilet or pour them down the sink, as it can harm the environment.

And remember, prescription medicines cannot be recycled – even if you haven’t opened the package – which means you shouldn’t give them to anyone else to use.

Step three: keep on top of your prescription meds. If your prescription changes, take any remaining medicines from your old prescription to your local pharmacy, don’t keep them. If you start feeling better, never stop taking your prescription medicines without your GP’s advice. And make sure you don’t run out of your medicines by collecting your prescription in good time, rather than at the very last minute (always make sure you have enough if you take medicines on a daily basis).

Ask your Careway pharmacist about the repeat prescription service, where your pharmacist will order your prescription for you well in time before your current prescription runs out. You may even be able to have your prescription medication delivered direct to your front door.

Meanwhile, to help you get the most out of your prescription medicines, many pharmacies offer a free Medicines Check Up service. This includes having a private chat with your pharmacist about the medicines you’re taking and gives you the opportunity to ask questions about your medicines and to find out how best to take them.

So if you’re having difficulties with your medicines or want to know how to reduce medicine wastage – or if you just need more information about how they work and what the possible side effects are – a Medicines Check Up could really help.

Ask your local Careway pharmacy about the Medicines Check Up service today.

Find a pharmacy where you live by using our Pharmacy Finder.