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How to spring clean your medicine cabinet

If we were to take a peek at your family’s medicine cabinet, what would we find? Do you have a ‘medicine drawer’, a cupboard in the bathroom, or a box stored somewhere in your kitchen?

Whether it’s antihistamines for seasonal allergies, cold and flu treatments, pain killers, complementary medicines or prescription medications, you may find yourself adding things to your collection of medicines, depending on the health conditions of the people in your household.

Just like our pantries and wardrobes, our medicine cabinets could certainly benefit from a good clean out every few months. It’s not just about keeping a tidy home: making sure that you’re storing your medicines correctly and that they’re within their expiry date can help you get the most out of them.

Here’s how to give your medicine cabinet a thorough spring clean:

Check the expiry dates

Checking your medicines for expiry dates and removing any that have expired is a simple and easy place to start. Don’t be tempted to hold on to medicines just in case you need them for the future. Most medicines deteriorate over time, becoming less effective or even potentially harmful if they are used after their expiry date.

Get rid of anything you no longer need

It’s well known that there is a risk of medicines interacting with each other in a way that can be harmful — including non-prescription and complementary medicines. According to NPS MedicineWise, older Australians who take five or more medicines a day are twice as likely to report a side effect or other medicine problem, and seven times more likely to be taking medicines that could interact. Don’t take any risks: dispose of any medicines that are no longer needed.

Whether they’re out of date or you no longer need or want them, the best way to dispose of your medicines is to return it to your Capital Chemist. Don’t put them down the toilet or in the rubbish bin. We dispose of medications through the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) program, where they are incinerated. See for more information.

Get a MedsCheck

At Capital Chemist, we offer MedsCheck, a free one-on-one consultation with your pharmacist to give you a better understanding of your medicines and to ensure that your medicines are working for you. It’s quick, easy and provides a chance for you to discuss any problems that you may be experiencing with your medicines. An appointment is required, but it only takes half an hour and in many cases, the cost of the service will be funded through Medicare (conditions apply).

You may also wish to consider a Home Medicine Review (HMR), where a specially accredited Capital Chemist pharmacist can come to your home to do a comprehensive clinical review of your medicines. The service is a cooperative effort between your GP, pharmacist, other health professionals and yourself (and, where appropriate, your carer). To get an HMR, you’ll need a referral from your GP.

Keep close track of your medicines

It’s a good idea to keep track of your medicines by documenting which ones you are taking, what your dosages are and when you need to fill a repeat or get a new script. One convenient way of doing this is by using MedAdvisor. It’s a handy medication management app that connects you with your pharmacy. You can see your medication records direct from your pharmacy’s computer, reorder scripts online, check how many repeats are remaining, and set up alerts to remind you when you need to take your medicines.

It’s as easy as downloading the app, filling your scripts at your local Capital Chemist, and grabbing a unique activation code. Visit for more information.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.