The medication a person takes for arthritis and other conditions will depend upon the severity and regularity of their joint pain. It’s possible, too, that one may not need any. At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, we work with every patient to determine the proper care, be it a minimally-invasive procedure or physical therapy. As next week, the third Friday in April, observes National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day, it’s a good time to address this practice as it relates to pain management.
It’s recommended to sort through your medications at least once a year. People purchase specific products like cough syrups, aspirin, over-the-counter pain relievers and other cabinet staples designed to remain on hand when needed. While some products can last a long time, these medicines do eventually lose potency.
- Over-the-counter aspirin is best used within five years, but can be used beyond this mark
- Cough syrup may last indefinitely, but if you’ve had the same bottle in your home for years you should check for smell and discoloration before use
- If you aren’t sure how long you’ve had a specific relief medicine, check expiration dates.
When it comes to prescription medications, you should give care to whether or not it stays in your home. Leftover pills and capsules may remain due to a change in your pain management regimen, and the FDA warns of risks of taking medications past their expiration date. Loss of potency is one issue, but it’s possible changes in chemical composition of certain prescriptions can lead to illness.
As you remove old and unnecessary medicines, do so properly. The FDA recommends these guidelines:
- Empty pill and capsule bottles into a bag containing dirt, coffee grounds, or a similar inedible substance. Avoid flushing pills down the toilet or sink.
- Seal the bag and toss in the trash.
- Before disposing of a prescription container, remove any labeling with your personal information. If the labels won’t come off, blot out the information with a black marker.
If you have questions about medication for your joint pain management, the physicians at Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists have answers. Contact us today to learn more about the programs and therapies we offer to help improve quality of life.