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What’s in your medicine cabinet? Aspirin? Vitamins? Antibiotics?

Medicine cabinets can contain hidden dangers. Moisture from the shower can get inside bottles. If moisture gets inside an Aspirin bottle, for example, it changes the chemical composition and acetylsalicylic acid breaks down to salicylic acid, the same substance used in corn removers. This salicylic acid, when ingested, can cause bleeding in the lining of the stomach.

If Aspirin smells like vinegar, it means moisture has gotten inside the bottle. Throw it out.

Most over-the-counter drugs are not very sensitive to moisture, but the ones made to dissolve in the mouth are more susceptible.

Vitamins are likely to break down if exposed to moisture. They are best stored in a dry area, not in the bathroom or refrigerator. It is also better to store medicine with it’s cap on tightly, even though you may have trouble getting the cap off.

If a prescription is over a year old, it is probably best to throw it away. When prescription drugs get old, they lose their potency. Also, do not save them to self-medicate later or to give them to someone else with similar symptoms.

It is also dangerous to save prescription drugs and take them with a new prescription you might receive of another medication.

When disposing of bottles, do so in a way that children and others cannot get to them. In our office, we have trash that is sent to be incinerated at high temperatures. If you need to dispose of medication that we or another health provider have prescribed, we will be happy to put them in our trash for incineration at no charge to you.

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