New research by Griffith University reveals that around 40 per cent of Australians have expired medicines in their homes, while 20 per cent keep unwanted medicines.
The leading reason participants kept expired or unwanted medicines was in case they needed to use them again in the future.
The expiry date of medicines is generally based on the known activity of the medicine up to that date and, in most cases, medicines kept beyond the expiry date become less active and not as effective.
According to the head of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Jared Brown, medicines don’t generally become toxic after the expiry date.
One of the main risks of keeping expired medicines involves children accidentally ingesting them. More than 5000 children are admitted to hospital with medicine poisoning each year.
The use of expired medicines to treat serious medical issues, such as ineffective heart medication or adrenaline for anaphylactic shock, is also a significant issue.
The Federal Government has set up a new initiative, Return Unwanted Medicines, to help with the safe disposal of old or expired medicines and to minimise the risk of accidental poisoning and medication mismanagement.
Do you currently have expired medication in your house? Will you consider disposing of this older medication after reading this article?
Read more at griffiths.edu.au