A MEDICINE cabinet clear-out has lead to the recovery of an 85-year-old bottle of glycerin.
The antique ointment was handed over by an anonymous donor at Lloyds pharmacy, Market Street, during a medicines “amnesty”.
It is thought to be one of the oldest medicines recovered during the campaign.
The glycerin was originally prescribed by Hills Pharmaceuticals, Burnley, who later acquired family-run, Huddersfield chemist Henry Sykes in 1952.
Pharmacist Sadia Ishfaq said: “It really is quite unusual to find a medicine which goes back this far.
“It’s fascinating to see these old packets and bottles from bygone eras.”
It was passed to the chemist chain as part of their “medicine amnesty” scheme, which encouraged people to dispose of expired medication.
The glycerin, which was used to treat irritated skin, dated back to November 12, 1925.
In that year, Stanley Baldwin was the Conservative Prime Minister and just the day before, King George V had unveiled the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
Miss Ishfaq said: “Glycerin is still used today in lots of pharmaceutical products but back when this bottle was produced, it would have been used for dry skin conditions.
“Given that this bottle was from November perhaps it was being used for chapped hands brought on by the cold.”
She said the ointment would be of little use now because of its age.
Glycerin is a by-product of the soap-making process. It is known for being a humectant, meaning that it attracts water. Because of this, it is found in a large number of skin and hair products intended to soften and moisturise.
It was the joint oldest medication recovered in the initiative.
A set of glass vials dating back to the same year were handed over in Bristol.
The chemists also recovered tubes of Household Ointment from the 1930s, ophthalmic treatments and pain relievers such as pilocarpine nitrate, atropine and morphene, and anti-sickness medicine known as Avomine from 1955.
Miss Ishfaq said: “The response we’ve had to the medicines amnesty highlights just how many of us aren’t regularly clearing out our medicine cabinets for expired medications.
“Keeping them raises the risk of someone using them and this is really not advisable.
“At the very least, they might not be as effective as usual.
“Even though the amnesty is now finished, we continue to dispose of expired medicines safely, so if you have any lurking at the back of your cupboards, please do bring them in.”
According to a 2010 report, unused prescription medicines cost the NHS £396 million in England.
The York Health Economics Consortium and the School of Pharmacy at the University of London identified at least 50 per cent of this was avoidable.