Friday, October 10, 2014

What's in your medicine chest?/ get rid of expired meds


 If you or your child becomes ill in the middle of the night, that  3:00 am visit to Walgreen's may furnish you with some interesting anecdotes, but generally it is something you want to avoid. Try to have some basic medications on hand ahead of time. A little preparation is wise.

Oral Meds

Fever reducers/Pain relief
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are the most common medications used for this.
Remember that you never want to give actual Aspirin to a child.
Acetaminophen/Tylenol now has an fairly new infant label.
It is the same concentration as the children's, so they are actually interchangeable, but the infant bottle comes with a nifty little measuring system and a spill proof bottle which is safer. Acetaminophen also comes as a suppository, which is great for a child who is vomiting or resisting medication by mouth. Ibuprofen is also known as Advil or Motrin. This medicine comes in a more concentrated infant dropper. Make sure you understand your child's proper dose

Benedryl and/or Zyrtec are the ones we most commonly use. 

These would be given for allergic reactions, itchy skin rashes or insect bites. 
Benedryl will make many kids (and adults) very sleepy.
The generic name for Benedryl is Diphenhydramine HCL. There is no special liquid for infants. Most of the bottles have a caution not to use for children under 4. In our office, we DO use it for younger patients if indicated. Don't give to a young child without speaking to your health care provider. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) also comes in a liquid. It is supposed to be non-sedating but if you are an adult, I would test that out before taking it and driving. It makes me sleepy. 

They are both worth having on hand.

Tip: With any of your medications, put a strip of masking tape on the side of the open bottle and sign and date your doses.
This will avoid the common incident of parents double dosing their babies. This also will help you keep track for yourself when you are sleep deprived. I get plenty of frantic calls from parents who have inadvertently overdosed their kids by giving the medications too often. If there is a concern your first call should be to Poison Control.
1-888-222-1222   (California

*Pedialyte or Drip Drop
These are oral rehydration solutions that would be used if your child is vomiting. 
Breast milk is also great for that, but not everyone is lucky enough to always have it on hand. Pedialyte is the one you most likely have heard of. Unfortunately it tastes a bit like soap. They claim to have recently made it a bit more palatable. It also comes in Popsicle form, which is great for older kids. Drip Drop is new on the market and tastes a bit better. Some Walgreen's carry it, but alas it is not always easy to find. This is where planning ahead will help you out. You can get it from Amazon. It comes as a powder which you mix with water (this stuff is very handy for traveling.)

Have a working thermometer that you have tested for accuracy before someone actually has a fever. As long as your baby is over 2 months, I am not one who is going to focus too much on the exact degree of the fever, but we do want to get a sense of how high it is.

Topical creams

*Triple antibiotic ointment for cuts or scratches
*Anti fungal cream for yeasty rashes or fungal infections
*Arnica for bruises
*OTC hydrocortisone cream for mild itchy irritations

It is easy for tubes of ointments to get contaminated. Think about it. If the tip comes in contact with bacteria from a finger or directly from the body...there you go. Yuck! One study that I read suggested that more than half of the tubes of creams and ointments that people have laying around are contaminated with Staph. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you don't directly touch the tip to anything. Try to keep it sterile. Squeeze the desired amount onto a spoon and then use whatever applicator you want (clean fingers are usually fine.)

You also want to make sure you have some basic first aid supplies, like band aids and gauze. 

Secondary list

If your child is prone to constipation make sure you have Pedialax or glycerin suppositories on hand.

If you child is prone to mouth sores or irritations, I find Glyoxide very helpful and healing.

If you child has a history of wheezing, now is the time to make sure you have asthma medications available. Please check the expiration date and see when they were opened. Many of those are light sensitive so you should always mark the package when you open them. If your child uses a nebulizer, the tubing should be replaced every 6 months.  If you or your child use an inhaler, it should be rinsed out at least once a week. If it hasn't been used for more than a week it may need to be primed. Check the directions on your specific medication. Pro Air, which is one of the more popular inhalers, needs to have 3 extra puffs to clear it if it hasn't been used in 2 weeks.
Make sure that all your medications are stored in a safe, child proof location (a steamy bathroom is possibly not the best place.) Don't underestimate the ability of a climbing child who knows where the gummy vitamins or yummy medicine is stashed.

Do a routine check for expired medications. Even though I try to stay on top of this I can be occasionally stunned by the old stuff that I find lurking in the back of my own medicine cabinet (it runs in my family.)

Please don't randomly toss expired medication down the drain or flush it in the toilet. Medicine can pollute the bay and ocean, or be accidentally misused or abused. Waste-water treatment plants are not designed to remove medications or other chemicals in waste-water, so after traveling down your drain, medicine may affect our environment.
There used to be special days where you could drop off your expired meds, but they are no longer needed because there are currently ongoing programs. Here in SF you can take your expired medications to:


Central Drug Store  4494 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 585-0111
Charlie's Pharmacy
1101 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 567-0771
Daniels Pharmacy   943 Geneva Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 584-2210
Four Fifty Sutter Pharmacy  450 Sutter Street #712
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 392-4137
Franklin Pharmacy  1508 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415)- 775-3917
Joe's Pharmacy  5199 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 751-2326
MOMS Pharmacy  4071 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 255-2720
Post Divisadero Medical Pharmacy  2299 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-2663
Torgsyn Discount Pharmacy Inc   5614 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 752-3737
 VisitacionValley Pharmacy
100 Leland Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94134
(415) 239-5811
Additionally all San Francisco Police Stations will accept expired drugs: 
Bayview Police Station  201 Williams St.
San Francisco, CA 94124
Central Police Station  766 Vallejo St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Ingleside Police Station  1 Sgt. John V. Young Lane
San Francisco, CA 94112
Mission Police Station
630 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Northern Police Station  1125 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Park Police Station  1899 Waller Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Richmond Police Station  461 - 6th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
Southern Police Station  850 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Taraval Police Station  2345 - 24th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94116
Tenderloin Police Station  301 Eddy St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
  • Mix pills in a ziplock bag or in as few containers as possible.
  • Tighten the lids of liquid medicines or place the entire bottle in a ziplock bag.
  • Controlled substances(ex: Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall or Valium) Are only accepted at the Police Stations.
When you visit one of the pharmacy sites, simply deposit your medicine in the green drop-box. If you visit a police station, take your medicine directly to the window.  At police stations, you may be asked for your name and address. You are free to decline to give them that information.

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