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Hoarding drugs may be dangerous, despite perceived benefits

Filed February 1st, 2013 Joshua Sophy

As the economy worsens for many Americans, the urge to hoard prescription drugs increases and some experts warn that this habit could have dangerous consequences.

According to a Washington Post report this week, the Consumers Union of the U.S. warns that hoarding drugs could result in someone taking either an expired, recalled, or incorrect prescription drug.

People may have several reasons for “hoarding drugs” or “stocking up” on supplies of prescriptions if they feel they may not have regular access to their doctors or a pharmacy to refill them. Others may take advantage of discount prices available through online pharmacies. And even more may have unused portions of prescription drugs filling up their medicine cabinets.

All these habits can be considered “hoarding” drugs. They pose several dangers to people who actively stockpile their prescriptions.

Some drugs may have been recalled since the prescription was written. According to the information from the advocacy group’s report, there were more than 1,600 drug recalls last year and each year, more and more drugs are recalled for any number of reasons, either because they carry risks of dangerous side effects, or because manufacturing drugs may have compromised their safety.

Other drugs could have expired and a person who stockpiles them may not notice this. Over time, and in certain conditions, drugs can decompose or their chemical compositions could change, weakening them. Pills with unusual shapes or that have unusual odors in their bottles may be signs of expired drugs.

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