Keeping Medicine Safe At Home

You should treat all your medicines as dangerous, especially if you have children at home. Or even frequent visitors such as friends, relatives, neighbors, or even house cleaners.  Anyone that sees your prescription bottle can easily take a handful without you noticing until later.  You should always keep your controlled substances/medicines in a secure, locked location. You wouldn’t leave cash lying around your house or car or workplace, treat your medicines like cash!  Keep them away for safety.

What do I do with unused or expired medicines?

The current guidelines are to dispose of any unused or expired meds in non-palatable waste such as kitty litter, grease, or coffee grinds.  Additionally, you can call your pharmacy and ask if they have or know of any “medication take-back” programs.

What do I do if my medicines cause sedation?

Many times we will prescribe medicines that can have a side effect of sedation.  In fact, we like to use possible side effects for treatments!  For example, if you have muscle spasms and problems sleeping due to spasms, we could provide a muscle relaxant that has sedation as a side effect to help with your insomnia.  Generally, we suggest taking medicines that cause sedation at night so the sedation peaks when you should be sleeping.  You should be careful using any medicines that can cause sedation and operating any heavy machinery or cars/vehicles.

My spouse has terrible pain, can I give them one of my pain pills?

This is very dangerous.  We only prescribe narcotics after a full evaluation of symptoms, other medical problems, and exams.  Giving anyone a narcotic or controlled medicine that does not come from a physician can be deadly.  Furthermore, giving narcotics to anyone for whom they are not prescribed, even a spouse, is a federal offense.  Don’t do it. Have them call us for evaluation or go to urgent care/ER for evaluation.

What should I do when I pick up my prescription?

First, make sure it’s yours!  Verify the medicines, dose, frequency, and number of pills.  Next, especially if you have narcotics, you may want to verify all this in the store.  I have had patients say they picked up their prescription, got to their car, counted their pills, and then realized they were shorted.  Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do in this situation as the pharmacy will simply say you got the right amount.  You should verify your medicines and address any questions before leaving the pharmacy.  Also, feel free to ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.  They are a wealth of knowledge!

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