Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I am so sick of wimpy pharmacists.

Q. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep children from accidentally or purposefully taking prescription medication? Also, what are the dangers of taking expired medication?

A. "My personal belief is that parents have to be responsible," said Trisha Hufnagel, a pharmacist at UCI Medical Center Specialty Pharmacy.

Lock your prescriptions into a cabinet to keep children from getting to the drugs, Hufnagel suggested.

If your children have to take a daily medication, it may also be a good idea to purchase a daily container and ration out the medication, instead of handing out a bottle of 60 pills.

As for the second question, you should regularly go through your medicine cabinet and dump out any expired medication, Hufnagel said.

"There's an expiration date for a reason," she added.

For instance, heart medications may lose their potency after a certain time. Other medicine may disintegrate and can become toxic, Hufnagel said.

You are correct UCI Medical Center Pharmacist, the expiration date is there for a reason: The Food and Drug Administration thought it would be a good idea in 1979. Since I am no longer allowed to surf the web at work you will just have to trust me: this date is (and has always been) an arbitrary number. Sure medications expire at some point, but they do not magically go bad the day after the expiration date. "Heart medications may lose their potency..." Maybe nitrogylcerin will lose its potency, and it won't be able to rescue you when you are having a heart attack (that's bad); so let's make that sentence read: "A heart medication may lose it's potency..." As for drugs disintegrating and becoming toxic. If I were searching the web, I bet I would be able to find 1 case report involving expired tetracycline and renal failure (from the 1950s). Here's an interesting newspaper article on the subject of expired drugs.

I guess I need some kind of disclaimer: I do not think it is illegal for me to recommend the use of expired medications in this great State of California, but just in case it is: I am in no way recommending that you use expired medications. By reading this blog, the reader assumes any (and all) risk for any harm suffered from any actions (or inactions) taken on the reader's part.

In dining news: Restaurant Week in the OC. Nicole and I were in Vancouver at about this time last year, and the downtown dining establishments were running a similar program...only they call it "Dine Out Vancouver." I guess it's the kind of thing restaurants do when there are no tourists. Anyway, I plan on eating in many expensive restaurants for $26.95. My picks for the week are: Abe, Bayside, The Bungalow, Oysters, and The Arches.


Anonymous said...

If you are so tired of wimpy pharmacists, then what's up with the wimpy disclaimer ? I guess I'll have to consult the tree before I decide what to do with my expired medications....

Anonymous said...

It was restaurant week here in DC too. Plenty of tourists here to enjoy it. Heck... they prevent the natives from getting seats!