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How and Where Should Medications Be Stored?

When prescribed a new medication, many patients pay attention to the dosage directions but neglect proper storage techniques. The following tips will help you ensure that your medications are kept safe and optimally effective for long-term use.

Pay attention to temperature requirements

Extreme temperatures and even light can damage medications if you aren’t careful. The first thing you should do when preparing to store your medication is to read the label and ask your pharmacist for any temperature-specific warnings. Some drugs need to be stored in either the refrigerator or freezer, however, if there aren’t any specific instructions you should store your bottles in a cool place away from sunlight. Make sure to always keep them away from heating elements, and preferably in an opaque cabinet.

Don’t forget about the humidity either

Many times when a patient brings a new medication home from the pharmacist their first instinct is to put it in the bathroom medicine cabinet, but the humidity in most bathrooms can be harmful to medicine. This is especially true if you have a smaller bathroom where there is not a large amount of air permitted to flow freely through the space. Remember that humidity can linger for a long time after a shower. Save the medicine cabinet for cosmetics and first-aid materials such as rubbing alcohol, and find a drier spot for your medications.

Make sure labels are clearly visible

Always, always store your medications in their original packaging, and check the labels frequently to ensure that they are still readable and visible. Daily pill aggregators are popular, but they are not advised because you can easily lose track of what medicines are in them.

Throw out any bottles that are past their expiration date. If you have a medication that is still useable but you see the label is starting to fade, place tape over the bottle and write the name, instructions, and expiration date so that there is no confusion.

Tips for traveling with medications

Make sure you keep your medication in the original bottle in your personal luggage at all times. Never store medicines in luggage that is going to be out of your hands. Refrain from leaving your medications in a hot car, because temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the interior, even when the weather is temperate outside.

Take precautions around children

If you have small children in the home, your medications should always be stored in a place that is out of their reach. As your children grow, you’ll need to invest in some kind of child-proofing device or lock. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s best to have a place for medicines away from their reach in the event that you have the child of a friend or family member visit your home.

Storing medications properly is important for your health. An Atkinson’s Pharmacy is here to answer any questions you have about how to keep your family safe. If you are taking 5 or more medications per day, you may be interested in the Spencer machine, which helps connect and regulate your medications at home to ensure they are stored and dispensed at the appropriate times and dosages. Contact us today to learn more about medication storage from experienced, local pharmacists who have served the northeast Florida community for decades.