Pills and the planet: Environmentally-friendly steps for your medicine cabinet

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Within our health care system, Drugs and chemicals are the major contributors to air pollution. In addition, waste in the entire supply chain can lead to natural and animal resources, and in the case of antibiotic residues, to resistance to germs (aka “superbugs”). In 2018, 5.8 billion orders were completed in the US. Meanwhile, consumers have spent $ 34 billion on prescription drugs.

Many of these drugs are life-saving, giving us great benefits and a healthier life if taken properly. But with some thought, there may be a few things you can do to make your medicine cabinet more environmentally friendly, while keeping your health and environment in place.
Reduce waste when buying medicines

Less is more. Completing the 90-day course of medication can reduce the total cost of each pill, provide more convenience, and require less packaging. But in some cases, it makes sense to ask for a small amount, such as when trying a new drug, or buying over-the-counter medications and not expecting to finish before the expiration date.

Do the math. If your doctor recommends a dose change and the statistics work, consider dividing your current or dual pill first. If this works, you can request a new dosage for your next supplement.

Fill in when you use it. Do not take a prescription unless you are going to use it, without an emergency prescription. If you are offered a chance to get the medication you will take if your symptoms get worse or worse, ask your doctor to send a prescription to , and let ** know that you will let them know if you want it to be completed. .
Reduce your medicine cabinet

Review the benefits compared to the damage. Bring all your prescription and over-the-counter medications with you, and review them with your primary care physician. Make sure your type of medication offers more benefits than the side effects of your condition. This is very helpful when you see many different doctors who are giving you treatment. Sometimes, people stumble into a cascade, where one drug is injected to treat symptoms that have negative effects on another. But be sure to consult your doctor before making any changes; it can be harmful to stop some medications, and some may need to be cut slightly.

Combine the tree of life. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle medications, which focus on healthy habits such as regular exercise and a healthy diet to prevent disease and promote longevity. Often, these lifestyle changes can help reduce or eliminate the need for medication.
Inhalers: Know your options

Check out the options. If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ask your doctor what your inhalers options are. Metered dose inhalers (MDIs) use hydrofluoroalkane propellants, which are thermal gases, to deliver the drug. See if there is a similar powder inhaler (DPI) option for you. However, not everyone can use DPIs, relying on patients to breathe faster to inhale the drug into the lungs. (For this reason, rescue inhalers used during asthma attacks are usually MDIs.) Your choice of inhaler will depend on the cost and availability of your insurance. Finally, the important thing is to use an inhaler device that works best for you in controlling your condition.
Proper disposal of medicines

Know when to spray. Do not put medicines in the toilet or sink (unless listed on the FDA list), as this could contaminate lakes, rivers, agriculture, and drinking water. Read packages for any drug disposal instructions. Many pharmacies or local community safety agencies such as the police will accept unused drugs and dispose of them safely. National Drug Depression Day is April 24, 2021, so check out safe collection points near you.

Some medicines can be thrown in the trash. Remove self-identification labels, and then mix the medicine in a container containing coffee grounds, cat litter, or soil. (This is not recommended for controlled substances such as opioids and other addictive drugs.) Visit this FDA web page for more information on drug disposal.

Healthcare is a partnership, and with thought and care, we can work together to get the best out of both countries – having a healthy life for you, and a healthy planet.

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