From the Desk of Dr. Lasich
Welcome to 2010, welcome to the future. What will the future hold for you? Hopefully, the New Year will be momentous for you. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat and the car goes where your eyes are aiming. Starting off with a clean slate or a clean anything is a good way to begin. I suggest that January be the official “Safe Drug Disposal Month” for cleaning out the medicine cabinet. Discarding expired, unused, and unwanted medication is a great way to start every New Year.
Whether you seek a clean slate or wish to pursue happiness, I wish each and every one of you A Momentous New Year—2010.
For any men out there, another way to start this year is to sign up for my Cooking to Control Pain with Dudes In the Kitchen class. Now is a great time to learn how to feel better with improved nutrition.
Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet
by Christina Lasich, M.D.
Some tasks should be done once per year like spring housecleaning or closet cleaning. Reorganizing and regrouping the clutter that accumulates over the year is necessary to avoid a heap of chaos at the end. The same can be said for the medicine cabinet. Medicines accumulate over time. That accumulation can lead to a potentially dangerous situation; the more bottles, the more confusion and chance for an unintentional medication accident. Recently, I discovered that an 86 year old patient of mine had amassed a huge amount of expired prescriptions. Plus, she was medicating herself with this supply depending on how she felt. Now that’s scary.
Opening a medicine cabinet can also be scary. Petrified toothpaste, tangled dental floss, and dust bunnies lie alongside drugs that date back to the 90’s, 80’s, and even 70’s. Now is the best time to clean out the medicine cabinet. But here is the dilemma: What do you do with the old drugs? Some people prefer the convenience and ease of flushing them. What’s the harm in that, right? Wrong, the Environmental Protection Agency is now charged with monitoring the drugs in the drinking water. That’s right; drugs are in the drinking water. Most of these drugs are there not from intentional dumping, but from being excreted in urine. Still, flushing drugs is not the best way for ridding ourselves of unwanted medications. In fact, the Federal Drug Administration has an official “Flush it” list of approved drugs for flushing, most of which are opioids and benzodiazepines. What about the non-“Flush-It” medications? What do you do with those?
The safest way to discard the drugs is through medication “take-back” programs. Locally, the Grass Valley Police Department has a collection system for drugs. This year, the Waste Management Company will also start a medication collection program. Pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics do not want the prescriptions returned to them. So, if a “take-back” program is not available, the FDA recommends mixing the “non-flush-it” chemicals in “kitty litter” or “coffee grounds” and to put the whole thing in the trash. The idea is to keep the drugs out of the wrong hands which can be very small hands indeed.
The whole idea for cleaning out the medicine cabinet is to keep you safe. Besides, who wants a 30 year old bottle of drugs that has been hanging out with dust bunnies?
“There are two ways to live; you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle”
– Albert Einstein
On the Internet
Medications used to treat osteoporosis can also damage the jaw bone called Bisphosphanate Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaw.