mation is often found on the label or in the
leaflet that accompanies your medication.
■ Avoid leaving your medications in
the car, in the bathroom or on top of the
fridge. This is especially important for drugs
sensitive to cold or heat and moisture, such as
capsules or tablets labelled as “oral disintegrating” that dissolve in your mouth.
■ Keep all medications out of the reach
of children and pets—for example, in your
closet or in an upper drawer or on a high shelf
in the kitchen, away from the oven.
■ Keep medications that need to be
stored between 2 C and 8 C in the fridge, not
the freezer. For example, vaccines, unopened
insulin and most liquid antibiotics require
refrigeration. When picking up these medications, ask your pharmacist for an ice pack and
get home as soon as possible. In the case of
vaccines, ask if your pharmacist can inject
them for you on the spot.
■ Keep your medications in their original containers and do not mix them with
other medications. The exception is if you
use pillboxes or dosettes to help organize
■ If your medication smells, tastes or
looks different, it may not be appropriate to take.
In these cases, consult with your pharmacist.
■ It’s important to keep your medicine
cabinet clean. Health Canada recommends
going through it at least once a year, checking
the expiry dates of both prescription and
■ Do not use medications past their
expiry dates, as outdated drugs are less effective and can sometimes be dangerous. When
an expiration date is not written on the container, the general rule of thumb is to discard
it if you’ve had it for more than a year.
■ When it’s time to dispose of drugs,
return them to your local pharmacy or take
them to a specialized waste disposal depot.
Never flush old medications down the toilet
since they can end up in the water supply.
Drugs (especially fentanyl patches) should
also never be thrown in the household trash,
to avoid ending up in the wrong hands,
resulting in poisonings or abuse.
For more information, visit the Health
Canada website (
search “proper use and disposal of medication.” As always, if
you have questions
or concerns about
your pharmacist is
available to help. C
B.Sc. Phm., CDE,
CGP, is director of
Pharmacies in Costco’s Quebec locations
are independently owned and operated.
Ask your Costco pharmacist about all your pharmacy needs. Products may vary by location. Pharmacies in Costco’s
Quebec locations are independently owned and operated.
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