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Time to Clean out Expired Medicines

Are your medicines helping or hindering? Figures indicate many Australians are keeping expired medicines in their home, raising the issue of medication safety.

During Medicinewise Week this week, NPS MedicineWise is reminding all people who take medicines to be aware of their safe use.

Chief Executive of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes AM, says that Be Medicinewise Week 2014 reminds Australians who take medicines about the importance of medication safety and being medicinewise.

Figures released from a poll of 1,000 adults show that the average Australian surveyed reported more than nine different types of medicines in their home. Of people who have over 5 different types of medicines in their home around half of those surveyed acknowledge they have out-of-date medicine in their home.

“Clearly people are holding on to expired medicines and keeping these in the home which increases their risk of misadventure. This Be Medicinewise Week we’re reminding people to regularly clean out their medicines cabinet and check the expiry date on all of their medicines.

“Our message today is to pay attention to what is in your medicine cabinet and always check the expiry date. Most medicines will slowly deteriorate over time, which can make them less effective and in some cases harmful.

“Australians can take their unwanted, unused or expired medicines to their local pharmacy for safe disposal. Disposing of medicines with their local pharmacist will ensure medicines do not end up in waterways or landfill.

“NPS MedicineWise is asking all Australians ‘are your medicines helping or hindering?’. After checking the expiry dates on medicines in the home, it’s a good time to start a medicines list. A medicines list allows you to record all your medicines, the reason you are using the medicine and the dose,” says Dr Weekes.

The free smartphone app, MedicineList+, is a good way to track  medicines.  As part of Be Medicinewise Week, people are urged to take the online medicines challenge and learn how to be more medicinewise. The challenge can be accessed at www.nps.org.au/be-medicinewise-week