February 15th, 2013

One more reason to bring your old medications back to London Drugs: Study shows anti-anxiety drugs can affect fish in the environment

Photo: Rainer von Brandis, iStockPhoto

Photo: Rainer von Brandis, iStockPhoto

It’s easy to forget that what we put in the toilet eventually ends up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. But water treatment plants are not designed to remove the complex medications we can carelessly flush down to them. And now a new study shows that traces of these drugs could be making fish populations less than mellow.

A research team at Sweden’s Umea University exposed young wild European perch to minute concentrations of the anti-anxiety drug oxazepam and then carefully measured feeding, schooling, movement and hiding behaviour. They found that drug-exposed fish moved more, fed more aggressively, hid less and tended to school less than unexposed fish.

Scientists are concerned these lower exposures may alter things like animals’ mating behaviour or its ability to catch food or its ability to avoid being eaten — effects that, over time, that could really affect a population.

So please, NEVER throw old medications out with the garbage or in the toilet. Bring them to the London Drugs Pharmacy and we will dispose of them safely.
Somewhere, a fish will thank you.

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