Tips for Cleaning out Your Medicine Cabinet

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Cleaning and decluttering has been all the rage this year thanks to Marie Kondo, but most people think only about decluttering clothing, toys, and housewares.

The bathroom is another important space to declutter, and in particular, the medicine cabinet. When was the last time you cleaned out yours?

London Drugs pharmacy manager Lily Liang says cleaning out your medicine cabinet regularly is important because expired medication might not be effective — and can even cause health problems if used.

When to Dispose of Old Medications

Liang uses the following rules for determining when to toss old meds. Get rid of it if:

  • The medication is unmarked or you don’t know what it is or what it’s used for
  • It’s starting to smell, taste or look different
  • There is no expiry date

Liang adds that the best practice if there’s no expiry date on your medication is to use it for one year, then toss it.

Safest Way to Dispose of Old Meds

Decluttering old medication isn’t as easy as tossing it in the trash. Liang says it’s never okay to throw it out or send it down the drain as you risk polluting the environment or causing potential health hazards.

Instead, put the meds into a resealable plastic bag (including their packaging such as bottles and tubes). Be sure to peel off the label first, and shred it if it contains personal information. Then bring the bags to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. London Drugs works with a medication removal service that ensures safe disposal of old medication.

The Best Place to Store Medication

Now that your medicine cabinet is cleaned out and ready for new products, ask yourself if it’s actually the best place to store your medication.

Liang says it’s best to keep medications in a cool and dark place. She suggests a bedroom drawer instead of the bathroom cabinet.

For more information about storing and disposing of medications, consult your local London Drugs pharmacy.

Getting Your Blood Pressure Checked Could Save Your Life

World Hypertension Day

Even though high blood pressure produces no symptoms, it puts millions of Canadians at risk of health problems including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. That’s why hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, and it’s the leading risk factor for death worldwide. Nearly one-quarter of Canadian men (24%) and women (23%) have the condition, according to the latest stats. Fortunately, a simple blood pressure screening can prevent serious health risks and even death.

May 17th is World Hypertension Day

With World Hypertension Day on May 17th, London Drugs pharmacists are reminding us all to get checked. This small action could be lifesaving if you’re one of the 7.5 million Canadians who have hypertension, or the 7.4 million more who have high blood pressure that will lead to hypertension without preventative action.

“Diagnosis and awareness of hypertension is critical to preventing future stroke, heart attack, and premature death,” says Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs. “A simple five-minute blood pressure check, easily accessible in the pharmacy, could help avoid the serious and deadly complications associated with hypertension.”

Detection of Hypertension is Easy

Luckily, detection of hypertension is straightforward and treatments are simple yet effective. London Drugs pharmacies offer complimentary blood pressure screening via in-store blood pressure kiosks, and pharmacists are available to discuss the results and answer any questions patients may have. They can also offer suggestions to minimize risk factors, which may include discussing changes to diet, fitness or lifestyle.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health-care providers and we can offer advice for those who have high blood pressure or who are at risk,” explains Del Negro. “The sooner people are screened, the sooner we can begin working with them, and their physician, to find ways to reduce their risk.”

Home Monitors for Hypertension

Sharing readings from a home monitor with a pharmacist or physician is another way to monitor your health. At-home blood pressure monitors including those from Homedics, LifeSource, and Omron can help track your readings. Omron’s arm blood pressure monitor and wrist blood pressure monitor can even wirelessly transfer readings and track results with the free Omron Wellness App on your mobile device.

If you think you’re too young to start tracking your blood pressure, think again. New research shows that the vast majority (84%) of Canadians who have hypertension, are aware that they have the condition. Yet the research revealed the need for more awareness among younger Canadians; those aged 20 to 39 were much less likely to be aware of being hypertensive (65%) than those in older age groups. They were also less likely to be treated (55%) or to have their hypertension controlled (51%).

“This information underlines the importance of hypertension awareness and accessible blood pressure screenings to ensure Canadian adults, young and old, get their blood pressure checked,” says Del Negro.

To receive your complimentary blood pressure screening or to discuss your blood pressure results, simply visit the London Drugs pharmacy.

Healthy Living Seminar Wed May 15th 7-9pm

Join us for a special in-store visit from Naturopathic Doctor Joyce Johnson on Wednesday May 15th at our Park Royal location in West Vancouver for a Healthy Living Seminar sponsored by Webber Naturals.

Space is very limited for this rare event.  Attendees will each receive a $25 coupon, free samples during the event and be entered to win a gift basket valued at $75.  Sign-ups are available through the Park Royal London Drugs Pharmacy at 1 (604) 926-9616.



April 20-27 is National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunization Week

For every vaccine administered at any London Drugs location in BC this week, a second lifesaving vaccine will be donated to immunize a child in another country.

To reinforce the importance of getting vaccinated and to help increase immunization rates, London Drugs has partnered with I Boost Immunity (IBI) as part of National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), which runs April 20 -27, 2019. For every vaccination administered this week at any London Drugs pharmacies in BC, a second lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada through I Boost Immunity to immunize a child in another country.

“By getting vaccinated at London Drugs, British Columbians can play an active role in helping to protect tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” says Shannon Turner, Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC.

About 100 years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. Today, in Canada, those diseases now cause less than 5 per cent of all deaths, thanks largely to immunization programs in all provinces and territories.

With that said, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles have been making a resurgence in recent months and London Drugs pharmacists are hoping to reinforce the importance and success of immunizations during National Immunization Awareness Week, which also coincides with Vaccination Week in the Americas and World Immunization Week.

Most parents of young children know that the best way to protect their kids is to have them vaccinated on schedule but it is important for adults to review their vaccination history to see if any immunizations are required.

“Even if you received vaccines as a child, the protection provided by some vaccines can wear off over time and may need to be updated. As you age, you may also be at more risk for other diseases due to your health conditions and travel habits, so additional vaccines may be required,” Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs.

Vaccines for pneumonia, shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella are all available at London Drugs. Common travel vaccinations are also available at some pharmacies to prevent illnesses like hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, typhoid, and traveler’s diarrhea.

Patients can simply call the London Drugs pharmacy nearest them to book an appointment to have a vaccination administered. Appointments for Travel Immunization Clinics can also be booked online.

“Simply by getting vaccinated, you can make a global impact, providing life-saving vaccinations to children worldwide. At the same time, you are taking care of your own health needs and potentially saving the lives of people in your community as well,” adds Shannon Turner.

Reducing Preventable Overdoses and Dangerous Drug Interactions

London Drugs launches campaign to prevent drug overdoses in seniors

Every year in British Columbia, the Drug and Poison Information Centre receives 26,000 calls about poisoning, including almost 4,000 drug poisoning cases that require hospitalization, and approximately 500 of which are fatal. A quarter of these serious cases occur among adults aged 55 and over.

Many adults over the age of 55, especially those with chronic health conditions, have multiple prescriptions. Each new drug, vitamin, or over-the-counter product that’s added to the mix increases the risk of adverse side effects and medication interactions.

Taking multiple medications on time and not taking duplicate doses by mistake is an ongoing issue for this age group and a contributing factor to the high number of serious poisoning cases.

Throughout the month of April, Preventable, London Drugs, and Fraser Health Hospital Foundations are partnering to raise awareness about the importance of medication adherence to reduce preventable overdoses and dangerous side effects when some medications are mixed – including over-the-counter drugs.

London Drugs medication tracking cardAs part of the campaign, patients can download or pick up a free card at participating London Drugs locations, which they can fill in with their current medications and anything else they are taking, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, and have it reviewed by a pharmacist.

Medication reviews and pharmacist consultations are safeguards designed to make sure that patients take all medications safely. They also help patients to understand the purpose and potential downsides of medications and to avoid serious drug side-effects.

“If you are unclear about how to take your prescription or over-the-counter medications or how supplements might interact with each other, don’t assume everything will be okay — ask your pharmacist or doctor,” says Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for Preventable. “Aging is a fact of life, but poisoning from medication use is not. Having an awareness of your medications and how certain drugs can interact with each other can prevent poisoning, even death.”

A recent poll conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs found that one third (34%) of Canadians aged 55 or older are not taking their prescription medications properly. This includes one in five who admit that they make adjustments to prescription dosage, size, or frequency without consulting a healthcare professional. The same number (18%) say that they have trouble remembering when or if they have taken a medication.

Participating London Drugs Locations

Westminster Centre, New Westminster

Coquitlam Centre, Coquitlam

West Oaks Mall, Abbotsford

Scott 72 Mall, Delta

Langley store, Langley

Trenant Park Mall, Ladner

Cottonwood Mall, Chilliwack

Peninsula Village Mall, White Rock

Valley Fair Mall, Maple Ridge

Mission store, Mission

Morgan Crossing, Surrey

High Street Mall, Abbotsford

How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy and Prevent Eye Diseases

Changes to your vision are common as you get older. You may find yourself needing glasses to read the newspaper, or noticing that your vision gets blurry or your eyes feel dry. It’s a normal part of aging, but there are things you can do to detect and prevent age-related eye problems to ensure healthy vision well into your later years.

Eyecare Tips

Age-Related Eye Diseases

There are several diseases that can affect your eyes as you get older:

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is actually the leading cause of blindness in the industrialized world, as London Drugs Pharmacist Gianni Del Negro discussed in a recent Global News spot. Cells in our eyes naturally break down and create waste products, but in people with AMD the process to flush them out gets slowed down. Those waste products stay in the eye, causing blurred vision and eventually vision loss.


Cataracts are cloudy spots on the lens of the eye. Most cataracts are related to aging, and they can develop slowly over time so you may not notice during the early stages of the disease. Cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in Canada, but they can be treated quite effectively with surgery.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels connected to your retina, the light-sensitive membrane at the back of your eye. If you have diabetes, it’s very important to get a yearly dilated eye exam.


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that affects the optic nerve. It most commonly occurs when pressure inside the eye is too high due to a backup of fluid, but it can also result from an injury or infection in the eye.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is very common as we age. As we get older, our body may produce lower quality tears. Tears are distributed across the cornea every time we blink, protecting our eyes from the environment outside. When tear production is reduced, we lose that protective layer of liquid. Dry eye can feel like a stinging or scratchy feeling in the eye and can lead to blurred vision.

Eye Care Tips

Eyecare Tips

While there are many diseases that can affect your eye health as you age, most are preventable or treatable.

Eye Exams

Yearly eye exams are key to prevention, even if you’re not experiencing vision problems. Some diseases like glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy can be spotted early and thus treated more quickly. In a dilated eye exam, your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes that cause your pupils to dilate so they can see through to your retina at the back of your eye. They may also use a puff of air to flatten your cornea to test your eye pressure.

Healthy Lifestyle

You can reduce your risk of AMD by 50% by quitting smoking, controlling your blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Your eyes are like the rest of your organs; your diet and exercise habits have an effect on them as well.

Sun Protection

Protecting your eyes from the sun is essential. Wear sunglasses with UV protection. You can further reduce potential damage to your eyes by wearing a brimmed hat in the sun.


Taking multivitamins and eating antioxidant-rich foods can help your eye health. Studies have shown certain combinations of antioxidants and vitamins slow down the progression of AMD. Some multivitamins like Vitalux are specifically formulated with eye health in mind.

Eye Drops

Eye drops can help with dry eye or other eye irritation. Some eye drops contain preservatives, so if you’re sensitive to preservatives look for options like TheraTears or Systane Ultra. If you need eye drops for itchy eyes during allergy season you can use eye drops like Visine or Naphcon, which contain an antihistamine. Most allergy eye drops also contain a decongestant to reduce redness, but this can be harmful if you have glaucoma. Talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medication.

For more information on age-related eye diseases and eye health, talk to your local London Drugs pharmacist or visit our Health & Wellness Library online.

Spring Allergy Season Has Arrived: How to Survive It

Tips for Surviving Allergy Season

Allergy sufferers should start taking medications now to stay one step ahead of symptoms

Experts at Aerobiology Research Laboratories who specialize in pollen and spore identification and research in Canada say there has been a late start to allergy season, but that it has arrived in British Columbia with the rest of Canada not far behind.

The aeroallergen monitoring firm collects pollen samples daily at collection sites across Canada and looks at when pollens are present in the air in each city, assessing the average pollen season length and the number of very high pollen days.

Last year, the average allergy season length across Canada was 115 days, with Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, Hamilton, and Brampton experiencing the longest seasons.

Pollen counts across Canada

Tree pollen allergy season start and end dates across Canada last year with number of very high pollen days in each city. Pharmacists recommend that allergy sufferers should start taking their medication about two weeks prior to the start of allergy season as some medications can take a few weeks to become fully effective.

For allergy suffers, the arrival of pollen in the air underlines the importance of taking allergy medications proactively, says London Drugs Pharmacist Craig Forster, in this CTV News story.

Some medications can take a few weeks to become fully effective, so ideally, allergy sufferers should start taking their medication two weeks prior to the start of allergy season to stay one step ahead of symptoms.

A new survey conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs found that four in 10 (40%) Canadians don’t start taking their allergy medications early enough. This includes three in 10 (29%) who say they only take allergy medication when they start to feel symptoms and one in 10 (11%) who take them only when they notice symptoms are not going away. Just seven per cent take them either right at the start of allergy season or two weeks beforehand.

Is it Allergies or Is It a Cold?

One underlining issue is that some people mistake early allergy season symptoms with a cold. The similarities between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms can make it difficult to tell which condition to treat.

The survey underscores Canadians’ confusion, as 65 per cent mistake allergy symptoms for a cold. Most respondents identified the symptoms of a cold as coughing (88%), sneezing (83%), sore throat (83%), runny/stuffy nose (79%), and chest congestion (70%).

When thinking of allergies, most respondents associate them with itchy or watery eyes (93%), sneezing (90%), and a runny/stuffy nose (78%). Fewer than half recognize the other symptoms shown as a sign of allergies, such as itchy ears and throat, wheezing, and long-lasting symptoms.

Although allergies and the common cold share many symptoms, patients experiencing seasonal allergies generally suffer from itchy watery eyes and a runny nose. Symptoms of a cold may include aches and pains, a sore throat, and perhaps a fever and chills, which are not typical of seasonal allergies. A cold will generally only last about a week or two, whereas seasonal allergies will have longer-lasting symptoms.

For allergies, treatments may include antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays, or eye drops.

Pharmacists at London Drugs can help distinguish your symptoms and recommend the right course of treatment based on the severity, your past response to medications, and any other medical conditions.

Visit your local London Drugs and speak with a pharmacist to learn more.

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