A LloydsPharmacy Medicines Box filled with essentials

We all have that cupboard or drawer in a homes where we pop everyday medicines or treatments like paracetamol, plasters or cough syrup.

But how often do you check the expiry dates on the packaging and have a clear out?

Keeping old medicines or worse taking them can be putting our health at risk.

Our Pharmacist Anshu Kaura gives her top tips on medicines expiry dates and how to safely dispose of medication.

On average pharmacists are asked twice a week about medicine expiry dates and whether it is safe to take out of date medicines, with some customers even asking if they can take unused medicines as old as 1930 and 1960!(1)

It is estimated that there is a staggering £300m worth of medicines unused in the UK every year (2)

It’s time to clear out your medicine cabinet

Check Expiry Dates:

Always check the expiry date on medicines both over the counter and prescription medication. Many medicines become ineffective when they pass their expiry date which can be a risk to your health. They could also do harm if they are taken by someone they were not intended for.

Try to Clear Out Your Medicine Cabinet Every Six Months

It is best to check your medicine supplies at least every six months to ensure that you only store those that are in date and still needed, particularly if you take regular prescription or multiple medicines. Plus, remember to check the dates on medicines you’ve bought like paracetamol or cold and flu relief.

Don’t forget to get a medicines box while you can:

Right now, if you spend over £25 on our LloydsPharmacy Own Brand products online, you can get a free medicines box to help keep your medicines in order, and it’s the perfect time to replace any out of date medications.

Shop Now

How to safely dispose of your medication:

Don’t Throw Your Meds in the Bin, Down the Sink or Toilet

Throwing medicines away incorrectly such as in the bin could lead to them being found by children or those that they are not intended for. Flushing meds or pouring them down the sink also poses risks to the environment.

Take Old or Unwanted Meds to Pharmacy

Medicines that are no longer needed, out of date or damaged should be taken to your local LloydsPharmacy where they can be disposed of safely. Find your local LloydsPharmacy here.


If you have any questions about how to dispose of your medicines correctly, speak to your local Pharmacist in store or over the phone.


(1) Survey of 134 LloydsPharmacy Pharmacists, October 2020. Commissioned by LloydsPharmacy, conducted by Survey Monkey.
(2) https://theconversation.com/do-drugs-go-off-what-happens-to-medicines-after-their-use-by-dates-126878#:~:text=Expiry%20dates%20are%20put%20in,the%20potency%20of%20the%20drug.