National research data suggests that over £1 million a year is being spent on medicines prescribed to patients across Epping, Harlow and Uttlesford which are not used.
With the four-day Easter bank holiday fast approaching, local doctors are urging patients to check they have enough medicines to see them through the holiday period.
If you need new supplies, be sure to order them in enough time to collect before Good Friday (30 March). The extra-long bank holiday weekend means that most GP practices will close on the evening of Thursday 29 March and won’t open again until Tuesday morning (3 April) when they are likely to be much busier than usual.
While checking to see if you have enough medicines, why not ‘spring clean’ your medicines cupboard? Check whether you already have more than one month’s supply of any item that you need to take regularly. If so, hold off re-ordering, because medicines have a ‘use by’ date and stockpiling medicines can be dangerous to family members, particularly children. Remember that you don’t need to order a medicine every month to keep it on your repeat prescription list.
If, when you collect your medicines from your pharmacy, you find there is something you already have plenty of, hand the medicine back to your pharmacist and mark it as not dispensed. You can always order it again in the next month. Do remember that you can only return medicines for re-use at the point the pharmacy hands them over to you and not once the medicines have left the pharmacy.
If you have a supply of unwanted or out-of-date medicines, remember you must return them to a community pharmacy so that they can be safely destroyed. Never put medicines into the bin or flush them away.