Benefits Plans - Prescription Drug Plan: Safety Tips
The first and most important step in using medications properly is to educate yourself about the drugs you use and the conditions they are intended to treat. When taken properly, medications can help if they are taken exactly as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. It is also important to store your medications safely and to dispose of unwanted medications properly.
Safe Medication Disposal
Be sure to dispose of old and unwanted medications properly to
Here are basic guidelines for keeping your medications safe and effective:
1. Talk with your health care professional before using any medications for the first time. Before you leave your health care professional’s office, ask questions to make sure you know why you are taking the prescription, exactly when and how to take it, and any possible side effects. Inform your health care provider of any allergies or adverse medication reactions you have experienced. Tell your physician or pharmacist if you are pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant.
2. Discuss cost with your physician. If you cannot afford the medication, your physician may be able to offer alternatives.
3. Discuss all of the medications and supplements you are taking with your health care professional or pharmacist to determine if there are any potential problems:
- Some medications can interact with each other — even over-the-counter non-prescription drugs, such as cold remedies, vitamins, herbal and homeopathic products.
- Certain foods, for example grapefruit, dairy foods and beverages (particularly alcohol), can interact with medications.
- Talk with your pharmacist when you purchase prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Your pharmacist can answer any questions or concerns you may have.
4. Read and follow use and storage instructions on the label. Dampness and heat, such as found in a bathroom medicine cabinet, can shorten the shelf life of some medicines.
- Take medications only as directed.
- Do not use or share medications prescribed by a health care professional for someone else.
- Read the label correctly and follow all instructions for when and how to take your medication.
5. Take the correct amount of medication.
- Do not take more or less than the label indicates.
- Do not give adult doses to children or guess the dose you should give to a child. Instead, ask your pharmacist or physician for the correct medication and dose.
6. Annually clean out your “Medicine Cabinet,” and wrap & trash, don't flush old medications.
- Safely dispose of all unwanted medicines. Don't pour unwanted medication down the drain or flush them down the toilet. Take simple steps for safe for disposal:
- Remove, cross out, or tape over personal information on the prescription container.
- Make the medication unusable:
- Crush pills or capsules and return to the pill bottle; mix with a small amount of water.
- For liquid medications, mix with coffee grounds or table salt and seal the container with tape to prevent leaks. Do not use any food or material that might attract pets or wildlife.
- For blister packs containing multiple pills, wrap the packs tightly with multiple layers opaque adhesive tape.
- Double bag the pill bottle or package in plastic bags, then place inside a plain paper bag to prevent the package from being easily identified as medication.
- Tape the bag closed and put it in the trash.
- For more safe disposal tips, see Disposing Old Medications
- View the Medication Disposal page on the Washtenaw County website for additional information and to view a four-minute video on safe drug disposal techniques.
- Check expiration dates on all medications. Throw away expired medications using a safe disposal method. If you’re not sure when a certain item expires, call your pharmacist and ask about the shelf life for that medication.
- If medications are not in original containers or the labels are unclear, throw them away! It is dangerous to store medicines in anything but their original containers. (For example, some medicines come in tinted glass bottles because exposure to light may cause them to deteriorate.)
- Discard old tubes of cream that have become hardened or cracked.
- Throw out any liquid medicines that appear cloudy or filmy.
- Check with your local pharmacy to see if they have a medication take-back program. Many pharmacies allow you return your old, unwanted medications for proper disposal.
Every medication is a potential poison. If there are children in the house, keep all medicines and vitamins locked in a high cabinet, well out of their reach. For more information on medication safety and proper disposal, visit Dispose My Meds at http://www.disposemymeds.org/.
Purchasing a medication from an illegal website puts you at risk. You may receive a contaminated or counterfeit product, the wrong product, an incorrect dose, or no medication at all. For more information, visit the website www.safemedicines.org.
The University of Michigan in its sole discretion may modify, amend, or terminate the benefits provided with respect to any individual receiving benefits, including active employees, retirees, and their dependents. Although the university has elected to provide these benefits this year, no individual has a vested right to any of the benefits provided. Nothing in these materials gives any individual the right to continued benefits beyond the time the university modifies, amends, or terminates the benefit. Anyone seeking or accepting any of the benefits provided will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the benefits programs and the university's right to modify, amend or terminate them.