Exam Your Medicine Cabinet Before It Kills You

Have you checked your medications lately? Are any medications safe to use after their expiration date or in combination with other medications? What should you do with your old outdated medications? These simple questions can start you on the path to protecting you and your family.

The AMA is offering a guide to assist in safely disposing of your medications. This guide will show you how to dispose of medications safely by keeping them out of local water and protect your children or adults from accidentally ingesting or misusing them.

"Many patients use prescription and over-the-counter medications as part of their health care routine, but if not properly disposed of these otherwise beneficial drugs can be extremely harmful," said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D. "It is easy to accumulate expired or unneeded medications in a medicine cabinet, and Patient Safety Awareness Week provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the best way to get rid of these potential hazards."

The AMA also offers you tools to assist you with keeping records of all your medications and you can contact their physicians to answer your questions. Their medication safety checklist will assist you with keeping records of not only prescription medications but vitamins, your herbal, home remedies and alternative methods you may have read about. With all this information conveniently accumulated you can then supply them to your doctor. The AMA's MyMedications app, available on iTunes, will easily provide a place to file information on your medications, allergies and immunization records which can then be emailed to physicians and family.

"Patients with multiple conditions may see more than one prescribing physician and use other non-prescription medicines, so it is critically important to make sure these treatments are safe together," said Dr. Carmel. "The AMA encourages patients to discuss with their physicians all vitamins and medications, including prescription and over-the-counter, that they are currently taking. The medication safety checklist and MyMedications app provide great ways to start this important discussion and safely manage your medications."