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PATIENTS BE AWARE! DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S INSIDE YOUR MEDICINE CHEST?

 Pharmacy Association Offers Healthful Advice
 During Poison Prevention Week


PHILADELPHIA, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients be aware! Are the contents inside your medicine cabinet hazardous? To kick off Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists (PARD), a non-profit organization which represents independent community pharmacies throughout the Delaware Valley, encourages patients to take time out of their busy schedules to poison proof their homes.

"Taking the time to make sure medication is properly labeled can save lives. Talking to your pharmacist about the safest ways to store and use your medicines can also help prevent accidental poisonings," stresses Gerald Mazzucca, PARD Executive Director.

To ensure that patients don't fall victim to accidental poisonings, PARD provides these recommendations:

Clean out your medicine cabinet periodically and throw out all of the following:

-- Any medication that has changed color or formed a residue at the bottom of the bottle.

-- Medications that are expired or more than two years old.

-- Aspirin that is crumbly or gives off a vinegary odor.

-- Hydrogen peroxide that no longer bubbles when applied to skin or scalp.

-- Ointments that have separated or become discolored.

-- Leftover eye wash or eye drops (fungus growth may develop).

Each year in the United States, half of the 2 billion filled prescriptions are taken improperly and the majority of patients don't ask any questions about their prescriptions. PARD pharmacists are committed to reducing these statistics. Most provide one-on-one consultations for patients with questions about their medications.

In support of this year's poison prevention theme, "Children Act Fast ... So do Poisons," PARD recommends the following:

-- Never refer to medication as candy.

-- Keep all medications safely out of children's reach. All cabinets, drawers and medicine cabinets should have child-proof locks.

-- Use products with child-resistant packaging, especially medicines and household chemicals and close securely.

-- Store medicines and household products in their original containers -- never in cups or soft-drink bottles.

For senior adults, PARD advises:

-- Never mix medications in a single container. Some chemicals react with each other and neutralize the medicines or cause harmful side effects.

-- Keep your pharmacist informed about additions and deletions to your medications to prevent hazardous drug interactions.

-- Categorize all your medications to prevent confusion. Talk to your community pharmacist about developing a medication management schedule.

-- Keep all medications out of the reach of your grandchildren.

Poison prevention tips regardless of age:

-- Never administer or take medications prescribed to someone else, even if the symptoms are similar.

-- Always turn on the lights before taking or giving any medications to ensure that you are able to identify medication properly.

-- In an emergency situation, call the Poison Control Center immediately at 215-386-2100, or 800-722-7112 outside the 215 area code.

To receive free literature on preventing accidental poisonings, call PARD at 215-387-6180.

/delval/
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/EDITORS' ADVISORY: PARD pharmacists are available for interviews or for "safety-checks" of family medicine cabinets during Poison Prevention Week. To schedule interviews, call 215-884-6499./

/CONTACT: Romy Saltzburg of The Communication Solutions Group, 215-884-6499, for PARD/

CO: Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

MK-MP -- PHM004 -- 0632 03/11/96 09:06 EST
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Date:Mar 11, 1996
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