Week of:
Mar 23, 2018

Safe to take expired prescription medication?

Hi Alice,

I wanted to know the dangers of taking expired pills. For instance, Xanax that expired over five years ago. I'm sure you're wondering why someone would still have them but I am curious what would happen if you took them now.

Thank you,

It's hot here — Where can I store my medication?

Dear Alice,

Recently, I was reading the fine print on the box and saw that it said, "Don't store above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit)." Here, the ambient temperature is normally 35-40 degrees! (I don't have air conditioning). I looked online and the internet said you shouldn't stick pills in the refrigerator because of the moisture.

What is my best option for storing the medication?

Thank you,


Mysterious meds arrive in the mail

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend received a package of unknown white pills in the mail with no return address. He doesn't know who sent them or what the pills are. To my horror he took one while out drinking one night but there was no noticeable effect. How/where can I find out what these pills are? They are round white tablets thicker than aspirin and have the numbers 54 543 imprinted on one side. I'm afraid to ask my pharmacist in case this might actually be a controlled substance. Can you help?

Generic versus brand-name drugs

Dear Alice,

I've been using name brand birth control pills for eight years and now my insurance company will only cover generic birth control pills. Do you know anything about the pros and cons of using generic pills as opposed to name brand pills? Are they as effective?


How to dispose of empty medication bottles?

Hi Alice!

How do I properly dispose of my empty prescription medication bottles? Can I just throw them in the trash? That seems unsafe since they have my name, but I also throw out junk mail with my name.....


A safe pill-popper