September 10, 2020

Taking Medicine, Storing Medicine and Disposing of Medicine

Medicine is a part of life for many Australians, whether it’s through ongoing prescriptions, once-off treatments, or occasional pain management. We’ve put together this simple guide to help you cover the three most important aspects of taking medicine.

How do I ensure I’m taking medicine safely?

Once you’ve been prescribed a new medicine, there are some important things that you should check first. NPS Medicinewise is an organisation that is committed to supporting the quality use of medicines. They’ve put together the following simple guidelines to ensure you’re making the best and safest choices for you and your family:

1. Know all the medicines you take and why you take them. Keeping an up-to-date medicines list is a great way to keep track of your medicines.
2. Understand the instructions for taking your medicines. Medicines only work if you are taking them properly, and you can only take them properly if you understand the
3. Check with your health professional before starting any new medicine. A health professional can help you balance the benefits of a medicine with any potential risks.
4. Ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand about your medicines. Seeking information from a trusted source can help you get the most out of your
medicines, safely.

You can find out more information about being medicine wise on their website.

Where’s the best place to store my medicine?

Most people store their medicine in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Did you know this is actually one of the worst places in your house to store medicines?

  • Don’t store it in the bathroom – the humidity and steam from the shower could mean your medicine loses its efficacy more quickly.
  • Don’t store it above the cooktop or fridge – just like in the bathroom, the heat from these appliances can impact the efficacy of the medicine.
  • Keep your medicines up high – It may seem obvious, but you need to ensure that your medicines are not within reach of children or family pets.
  • Categorise your medicine – It’s best to categorise your medicines in a divided box or separate boxes instead of throwing all of them into one basket.
  • Keep your medicine in a cool and dry place – once you’ve sorted your medicine into separate boxes, ensure it’s placed up high in a cool and dry spot away from any
    heat, light, or steam.

How should I safely dispose of any unwanted medicine?

Storage of expired and unwanted medicines in the home can be dangerous and unsafe disposal of unwanted medicines can lead to environmental damage.

There is a free and convenient way to dispose of your unwanted medicines responsibly via your local pharmacy, and it’s called Return Unwanted Medicines (or The RUM Project).
All you need to do is Read, Remove, and Return.

  • Read – Review and read the labels on all of your medicine and check the expiry dates.
  • Remove – Remove any unwanted or expired medicine out of its packaging (foil packaging is fine) and place into a container or bag.
  • Return – Return your expired and unwanted medicines to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.

To find out more, visit the Return of Unwanted Medicines website.



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