Share this page:
Watermelon feta mint salad

Time to Update Your Medicine Cabinet

Take a few minutes to do an inventory now, and you’ll be ready to start the year with a safer, more organized, and more current supply of the medications and items you and your family need. Set aside any medication that is old, no longer necessary, or prescribed for someone that no longer lives in the household.

  • Check to see if any local pharmacies participate in the Drug Take-Bake Program, which allows you to drop off old medications for safe disposal.
  • Some medications, including many prescription pain relieves can be safely flushed down the toilet. See the list of medications the FDA recommends flushing.
  • Dispose of other pills by mixing with kitty litter or coffee grounds (do not crush pills), adding a small amount of water, and sealing in a plastic bag. The bag is then safe to throw in the trash.
  • Before throwing away prescription pills bottles, scratch off or black out any personal information.


Make sure all medication is in its original container, and never mix medications in a single container.

Review dosing guidelines to ensure that you are taking the medication appropriately.

Make sure your medicine cabinet also includes items that are commonly needed for treating minor scrapes, pains, and illnesses:

  • Thermometer
  • Aspirin
  • Non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Antiseptic solution or wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • Check with your Primary Care Physician to see if there are other items you should include in your medicine cabinet.


Learn more by scheduling a personal consultation with an El Camino Hospital pharmacist. It’s a free benefit – available to all HealthPerks members! To schedule a consultation, call 650-940-7210.

This article first appeared in the December 2013 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

Share this page:

Find a Blog