Medication Safety

How are you safely storing and disposing of your unused medication? Safely disposing of old, unneeded, or unused medication is something that is extremely important. Not disposing of medication in the proper manner can lead to drug abuse, addiction, poisoning, and may even be fatal. Making sure that unused medications are being monitored, are secure, and disposed of can help to stop these things from happening.


Monitoring your medication to make sure that no pills are missing and that you aren’t getting refills more frequently than normal, can help to ensure that no one is getting into your medication. If your child or someone who you’re taking care of is prescribed a medication make sure to hold onto them and give them when needed. By doing this you can help to ensure that they are not taking more than they are supposed. It is also extremely important to make sure that you keep your medication safely stored at required temperatures.

Location Temperature Medication Examples
Room 15C to 25C

(59F to 77F)

Methotrexate, Otrexup, Otezla
Refrigerated 2C to 8C

(35F to 46F)

Humira, Enbrel, Cimzia, Simponi



Securing your medication in the manner that you would your valuables is the best and safest way to go. Keeping your medication in a locked cabinet or in a place that only you know about, ensures that no one can get into your medication but you. Two-thirds of teens that abuse medication, got it from their parents’ medication cabinet or from a friend that took if from their parents’ medication cabinets. Making sure that medication is secure is extremely important.


Disposing of your medications in the proper manner is important. Don’t flush medication down the drain and don’t just throw it in the trash. Some medications have very harmful and toxic side effects, so flushing them down the drain may be dangerous. Pharmacies can’t take your unused or old medication because it is against the law. You can send your medication to a drug mail back program, find a take back location, or use a drug deactivation bag. An alternative option if you can’t get to a site designated to take back medication, after removing all of your personal information you may mix (uncrushed) medication with cat litter or dirt and place it in a plastic bag and throw it away. The proper way to dispose of used needles, syringes, and pens is in a Sharps container. To get a sharps container please reach out to the manufacturer of your drug.

Sharps Containers Contact Information 

Drug Website Phone Number
Humira: Humira Complete




Enbrel: Enbrel Support 888-436-2735
Forteo: Forteo Connect 866-436-7836
Cimzia: Cimplicty Support Program 844-599-2223
Simponi: Jansen CarePath 877-227-3728

Cosentyx Connect 844-267-3689

The DEA website or the American Medicine Chest Challenge provides specifics on how and where to properly dispose of your medication. If you have any questions on how to find this information, please reach out to the DEA Division Control Center at 1-800-882-9539.


Take Action to Address Medicine Abuse


Alcohol Awareness

April is national Alcohol awareness month. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. Drinking too much alcohol may lead to liver disease, some forms of cancer, risk of injury, and violence. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and at high concentrations it can induce coma, respiratory depression, and death. Alcohol comes in many forms such as ethanol, methanol, ethylene glycol, and isopropyl alcohol. The main form consumed in alcoholic beverages is Ethanol.

Drinking Levels

There are levels to drinking alcohol and although harmful at any amount, drinking in moderation is always safer. The different levels include Moderate, Binge, and Heavy. Level one is moderate drinking, which is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Level two is binge drinking, which is 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in about 2 hours and brings the blood alcohol concentration levels to 80 mg/dL. Level three is heavy drinking, which is 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

Blood Alcohol Concentrations and the Clinical effects

50-100 mg/dL: Sedation, slower reaction times

100-200 mg/dL: Slurred speech, impaired motor function

200-300 mg/dL: stupor, emesis

300-400 mg/dL: coma

>400: Respiratory depression, death

Acute Effects

Gastrointestinal (decreased motility)

Renal (increased production of urine)

Vascular Smooth Muscle (hypothermia)

Skin (increased temperature of the skin)

Cardiovascular (depresses the heart)

Chronic Effects

Liver (fatty liver, cirrhosis)

Neurotoxicity (abnormal eye movement)

Cancer (mouth, esophagus, larynx)

Immune (pancreas and inflammation of the liver)

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Cardiovascular (heart failure, irregular heart beat)


Withdrawal syndrome Abuse/Alcoholism

Librium Campral

Valium Antabuse

Ativan Vivitrol



These treatment options are only provided if a patient is being treated for alcohol dependence in an inpatient or outpatient clinic. During this the time the patient is also going through counseling and may be seeing a doctor regularly.

Consuming alcohol while taking any medications can be extremely harmful and sometimes fatal. A lot of medications that are metabolized through the liver have a risk of causing liver toxicity (such as some rheumatoid arthritis medications), and alcohol also has the same risk. Consuming both at the same time puts a person at a greater risk of cirrhosis of the liver. It is extremely important to consume a safe amount of alcohol at all times and not to combine it with any medications.


Monthly Education: Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver which can lead to scarring, cirrhosis, or cancer of the liver. Hepatitis is also caused by other toxic substances and autoimmune disease which can present similar to viral hepatitis. There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.

To see more information, click here.

Monthly Education: Tuberculosis

Patients who receive biologics such as Humira, Enbrel, Actemra, etc. are at an increased risk for serious infections which may result in hospitalization and/or death. Tuberculosis may lie dormant in the body for years without notice. Biologics are medications that may suppress the immune systems function. Suppression of the immune system increases the risk that the infection will become more active.


Monthly Education: Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month. We acknowledge that it is also Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month and Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month among other things, but have chosen to focus on nutrition this year during the month of March since it affects all patients regardless of their condition.

Nutrition Month, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

We loved this list of 27 Health and Nutrition Tips based on science, and encourage you to read it for the great advice and explanations. The list recommends things like: eating nuts, minimizing your intake of added sugars, using extra virgin olive oil, remembering to do cardio, avoiding bright lights before sleep, not overcooking/burning your meat, drinking water before meals, eating fatty fish, etc. etc.

At FOSRX/FAST, we encourage everyone to set nutritional goal that they can make steps to achieve this month through healthy eating. Share your goal with us on social media @fosrxfast!

EatRightWithMyPlate 3-18


Monthly Education: American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month. Not only should we focus on those we hold close to our hearts during the month of love, but also focus on loving ourselves by taking good care of our actual non-metaphorical hearts. Simply put, taking care of yourself can lead to a longer, healthier life.

There are seven simple steps that research has shown can make a difference. Each involves making good choices and require some discipline, but all are doable. Dubbed “Life’s Simple 7” by the American Heart Association, they involve:

  • Eating better, which can stave off chronic disease. Steps include increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight because this can reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones.
  • Exercising, which can help with your cholesterol levels, weight and muscle tone.
  • Quitting cigarettes because even one can hurt you.
  • Managing blood pressure. Unhealthy ranges strain the heart, arteries and kidneys.
  • Controlling cholesterol to give your arteries the best chance to stay clear of fatty blockages that reduce blood flow.
  • Reducing blood sugar. This can lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
February Education

Monthly Education: Stress

Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better right now, but may also protect your health longterm. In one study, researchers examined the association between “positive affect” — feelings like happiness, joy, contentment and enthusiasm — and the development of coronary heart disease over a decade.  They found that for every one-point increase in positive affect on a five-point scale, the rate of heart disease dropped by 22 percent.

While the study doesn’t prove that increasing positive affect decreases cardiovascular risks, the researchers recommend boosting your positive affect by making a little time for enjoyable activities every day. Other strategies for reducing stress include:

Identify what’s causing stress. Monitor your state of mind throughout the day. If you feel stressed, write down the cause, your thoughts and your mood. Once you know what’s bothering you, develop a plan for addressing it.

• Build strong relationships. Relationships can be a source of stress. Research has found that negative, hostile reactions with your spouse cause immediate changes in stress-sensitive hormones, for example.

Walk away when you’re angry. Before you react, take time to regroup by counting to 10. Then reconsider. Walking or other physical activities can also help you work off steam. Plus, exercise increases the production of endorphins, your body’s natural mood-booster. Commit to a daily walk or other form of exercise — a small step that can make a big difference in reducing stress levels.

• Rest your mind. According to APA’s 2012 Stress in America™ survey, stress keeps more than 40 percent of adults lying awake at night. To help ensure you get the recommended seven or eight hours of shut-eye, cut back on caffeine, remove distractions such as television or computers from your bedroom, and go to bed at the same time each night. Research shows that activities like yoga and relaxation exercises not only help reduce stress, but also boost immune functioning.

• Get help. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional who can help you learn how to manage stress effectively.

Stress Handout

Monthly Education: Preventing Falls

Falls can be prevented! Take action and be prepared

If You Fall

  • Try to land on your buttocks to prevent more serious injuries.
  • Don’t rush to get up. Make sure you are not injured before trying to get up or letting others help you get up.
  • Don’t let the fear of falling again prevent you from being active. Inactivity creates an even greater risk of falling.

Protect Yourself

Anyone can fall. But as we age, our risk of falling becomes greater. That’s the bad news. The good news is that falls can be prevented. The first step to avoiding falls is to understand what causes them. For example, poor balance, decreased muscle and bone strength, reduced vision or hearing, and unsafe conditions in and around your home can increase your chance of falling. Staying safe and on your feet is a matter of taking some steps to protect yourself.

You can prevent falls by making the needed adjustments to your home and lifestyle, and by making sure you eat well, stay fit, and use whatever devices will facilitate your daily life while keeping you safe. Your independence and well-being are at stake. Take action!


  • Ensure that you have non-slip surfaces in the tub or shower.
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and bath to help you sit and stand. Make sure they are well anchored.
  • Use a raised toilet seat, and a bath seat in the shower, if you need them.
  • Wipe up moisture or spills immediately.

Living Room and Bedroom

  • Reduce clutter! Get rid of loose wires and cords as well as any other obstacles.
  • Consider using a cordless phone to avoid rushing to answer.
  • Have good lighting throughout the house and install night lights.
  • Make sure the path is clear between the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Scatter mats are tripping hazards. Get rid of them or make sure they are non-slip.
  • Move slowly out of your bed or chair. Getting up suddenly can make you dizzy.


  • Store kitchen supplies and pots and pans in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Store heavy items in lower cupboards.
  • Use a stable step stool with a safety rail for reaching high places.
  • Always wipe up any spills immediately to prevent slipping.
  • If you use floor wax, use the non-skid kind.
  • Ask for help with tasks that you feel you can’t do safely.


  • Make sure your stairs are well lit.
  • Have solid handrails on both sides of the stairway.
  • Remove your reading glasses when you go up or down the stairs.
  • Never rush up or down the stairs. It’s a major cause of falls.


  • Keep front steps and walkway in good repair and free of snow, ice and leaves.
  • Keep front entrance well lit.
  • Put gardening implements such as hoses and rakes away when not using them.
Ask for help with tasks that you feel you can’t do safely.

Your Health

Eat Healthy Meals

  • Nutritious meals keep up strength, resistance and balance. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
  • Don’t skip meals. It can cause weakness and dizziness.

Keep Fit

  • Engage in physical activity every day. It’s your best defence against falls.
  • Walk. Try Tai Chi. Do what you can to maintain your flexibility and balance.
  • Build your muscle and bone strength by doing “resistance” activities or exercises (such as weight lifting). Consult your doctor before you embark on an exercise program.
  • Have your hearing and vision checked regularly.

Use Medication Wisely

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects of prescription or over-the-counter medication.
  • Read directions carefully so you’re aware of potential reactions with other medications.
  • If your medication causes dizziness or sleepiness, adjust your activities so you aren’t at risk of falling.
  • Don’t mix alcohol and medications. Alone or in combination with drugs, alcohol can cause falls.

Use Safety Aids

  • Don’t be embarrassed to use aids to daily living – they can keep you safe and active.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aid.
  • Consider using a walker or cane. If you use a cane, make sure that it’s the correct height and that it’s rubber-tipped for safety.
  • Appropriate footwear is important. Comfortable shoes that provide good support can help to prevent falls.
  • Find out about other gadgets that can make your life safer: reachers, anti-skid soles, hip protectors, etc.
  • Use them!


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