It’s time for Brits to swot up on meds management

Research shows that Brits have a lax attitude when it comes to taking and checking their medication, according to a survey by LloydsPharmacy[i].

In particular, 26% have taken or applied out of date medicines and 13% did this knowingly. LloydsPharmacy Pharmacist, Steph Pacey, explains “taking out of date medicines is not advisable and has potentially serious health consequences. At the very least, they might not be as effective as usual. For example, you wouldn’t want to take an old cholesterol lowering medicine which may not be effective – and an old, less reliable insulin pen used to treat diabetes could be dangerous as it may not provide the dose that is intended.”

The advice given is that you should clear out your medicine cabinet every six months and always check the expiry date before taking or applying medication. However, 33% of us admit to clearing out our medicine cabinet less than once per year and 7% have never had a clear out.

With 77% of Brits regularly taking prescribed medicines it is important to ensure we are adhering to the best practice advice from pharmacists. Indeed, 66% of us have experienced side effects from medication which could have been prompted by taking medication incorrectly or by taking an out of date product.

More worryingly, 25% have taken medicines not prescribed to them. Steph Pacey says “it is never a good idea to share someone else’s prescription medication as it has been prescribed specifically for that person, taking into account their medical history. What is suitable for them may not be suitable for you.”

28% also admitted to disposing of medicines incorrectly, down the loo, in the bin, or pour down the sink. Unwanted or old medication should be taken to a pharmacy to be disposed of safely as throwing away medicines incorrectly poses risks to both the environment and to the children and animals who might find them.

Your pharmacist can offer expert advice on managing medications, avoiding side effects and how to get the best out of your treatments. This free service and is recommended for those on multiple medications. For more information, go to:

For many people, finding the time to visit their local pharmacy within opening hours is one of the key reasons that they struggle to renew their medications, but LloydsPharmacy offer a Prescription Delivery Service which enables users in England to have their medication delivered to a UK address of their choice for free via the Royal Mail.

[i] Survey monkey with LloydsPharmacy customers of 436 people