picture of child with packets of medicinal tablets

Medical expert warns against space-saving TikTok hack that could be “fatal” to children

Are there reasons why it’s important to keep medicines in the packages they come in? What are the child safety risks behind this hack? A medical expert shares his advice…

Mitesh DesaiDirector at Landys Chemist explains:

Should travellers swap their medicine packaging for Tic Tac containers to save space while packing? Are there reasons why it’s important to keep medicines in the packages they come in?

While swapping your medicine packaging for a smaller container that might take up slightly less space in your luggage, seems like a good idea, there are a few reasons why this isn’t recommended. 

Removing medication from its original packaging can cause delays at the airport. In worst-case scenarios, you may have to discard your medicine as airport security may not be able to identify the medication if it is not in its original packaging.

In addition to the hassle of making it through the airport, you could also run the risk of diminishing the effectiveness of your medication by putting it into a different container. Medical packaging is designed to protect medication from interacting with elements such as light, heat, moisture and air, which can degrade the potency of medicine over time. When you remove your medication’s original packaging, exposure to external elements can reduce the stability of the medication’s formulation and contribute to a potential loss of therapeutic benefits.”

What are the dangers of removing original packaging for medicine potency and child safety?

“Medical packaging often incorporates child-resistant features such as anti-twist child locks to prevent accidental ingestion by curious young children who may mistake medicine for a sweet treat. When you remove medicine from its child-resistant packaging, you increase the risk of accidental poisoning or the ingestion of harmful substances by children. This could have fatal consequences.”

Should medical advice be shared on social media by people who aren’t qualified?

“Social media algorithms often show users content that aligns with their existing beliefs and preferences, leading to confirmation bias. If someone already holds certain misconceptions about health and sees them reinforced on social media, they may become more resistant to seeking evidence-based medical advice.

Medical advice from qualified professionals is tailored to every individual's specific health condition, medical history and other relevant factors. Advice from people who aren’t qualified to give it can do more harm than good because such advice, as well-intentioned as it may be, may not take individual differences into account and can be inappropriate or ineffective to a wider audience.”

What are the rules around travelling with medication?

“Different countries have different rules and regulations about the kind of medication you can or cannot carry with you. Many countries will require you to you keep your medication in its original packaging when travelling overseas. Medications that are freely available in one country may be classed as controlled substances in other countries. The best way to know what medicines you can or cannot carry abroad is by checking with the embassy of the country you’re travelling to, who can advise on whether or not you will need to carry your prescription, or a personal license and so on.

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