The first part of the year is always a great time to clean up our home, but what about your medicine cabinet? I know as an interstitial cystitis patient myself, I have occasionally ended up with quite a collection of "left overs" in my cupboard. However, do you know the best way to discard outdated over-the-counter medications, supplements, and prescription medications that are either expired or left-over?
Fish on Prozac? Although you may have heard you should flush outdated and unused medications down the toilet, that is actually the last thing you should do. Scientists are finding more and more medications in the public water supply, both in municipal sources and natural sources like wells. And, yes, they have found fish with antidepressants in their system, raising the question of whether humans could be consuming these chemicals without knowing it!
Instead of flushing, experts recommend disposing of unwanted medications via your household trash using a thick, plastic bag that you cannot see through. (The FDA suggests mixing the medications with some undesirable food product like coffee grounds.) Wrap the bag securely in packing or duct tape to prevent people from harvesting the drugs from your trash or landfill. Alternatively, ask your pharmacist to see if they participate in a program to collect and safely dispose of outdated or unwanted medications. Because of safety concerns, only a couple of states allow the recycling of medications (the use by another person other than the person for whom the prescription was written).
Finally, don't forget the basics of keeping medications safe at home. Keeping medications out of the reach of small children, and consider locking up potentially addictive drugs like opiates and ADHD medications. Medications should only be used by the person and condition they are prescribed for. Finally, never discontinue a medication without the advice of a physician. If you discontinue antibiotics before the course is through, you could create a "super-bug" resistance in your body; and many drugs, such as anti-depressants, have withdrawal side effects that may need to be monitored by a physician.
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate
For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.
For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder
For health care workers: Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators
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