A NEW campaign is urging people to check their cabinets for old medicines, pills and potions.

Sedgefield Primary Care Trust has joined forces with pharmacists to launch an advertising campaign, Time for a Clean Sweep, which was launched on Sunday and will run throughout August.

It will encourage people to take potentially lethal out-of-date remedies back to their pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Trust pharmacist Jane Laws said: "This campaign is part of the ongoing work of Sedgefield Primary Care Trust's medicines management programme, which aims to provide better services and information to patients.

"We estimate that each year thousands of pounds are wasted in Sedgefield borough as a result of unwanted medicines being dispensed and stored in patients' medicines cabinets.

"Many of these medicines sit in cupboards going out of date or are ordered 'just in case' but never get used.

"Out-of-date and unused medicines can also be dangerous, especially for elderly people or children.

"Many poisoning cases occurring in the home involve medicines and this proportion is increased in infants and toddlers.

"Elderly people are also at more risk because they tend to have more medicines in their homes."