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Out with the old: clearing your medicine cabinet

clearing your medicine cabinet

The year is fast coming to an end! Most of us take time out to get rid of the old stuff, to start on a fresh slate. One of the old stuff neglected to be thrown out is our expired medication. We tend to keep them around thinking they are still good and could serve on a rainy day. Almost everything depreciates with time and medicines are not excluded.

Expiration date simply means after that given date, the safety and effectiveness of that medication is not guaranteed. There is even the possibility of a change in the chemical composition of the drug. After that time which can cause more harm to the body than good.

The expiration date is usually printed on the packaging of the medication. It is usually found right next to the fabrication date. It is abbreviated as EXP, followed by the date.

Always check the medications when you buy at a pharmacy for this date. Ensure the date won’t reach before the treatment is completed.

While the expiry date is valid before the medication is open; the date limit of use sets in as soon as the medication is opened. For example, an eye drop could expire after 2 years if never opened and stored right. However, once opened, it can only be used for 2 weeks. After which it is no longer considered safe for use. Always read the drug leaflet and ask your pharmacist for more information

It may hurt to throw out stuff you bought and didn’t get to use. At least let your money have its worth; but is it really worth your live and that of your loved ones? As you throw out stuff, throw out the expired medications and overdue prescriptions.


Errors happen: children especially can accidentally get poisoned from playing with expired medicines. Keep all medications up and away from children!

Go through your medicine cabinet today and clear out all old, damaged or expired medications.

For more on how to dispose of them, read our next article.

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Ekwoge Hilda

Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.


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