Every year, pharmacists receive many phone calls about problems that arise from misuse of medicines. This is usually accidental. Sometimes the problem is caused by a person using someone else’s empty bottles to store tablets, but far more often it involves a child taking tablets that belong to their parents or grandparents. To children, many medicines look like lollies, and are attractive to them.
By following a few rules, you could save yourself (or someone else) a lot of worry, get the most out of your medicines and keep everyone safe.
Many medicines are now foil packed, especially those that are particularly harmful to children, so it is important to leave them stored in the foil. Foil packaging reduces the number of tablets children can gain access to if they are playing with them. Foil packaging also protects some medicines from damage caused by humidity in the atmosphere.
If you find foil packs difficult to manage, your pharmacist can look at the type of medicine and decide whether it is safe to pop the tablets out for you. If it is safe to do so, the pharmacist will put them in a suitable container that is easier to manage, and has all the relevant details on the label.
Don’t pop them out yourself at home and put them into an old bottle; someone may take them, not realising that they are not the tablets described on the label. And never put medicines into food or drink containers.
Also, medicines dispensed by a pharmacist leave the pharmacy labelled with important information: the name of the person who is to take them, the dose and how often to take them.