With nearly 70 percent of Americans taking at least one prescription drug, it’s important to know where to store your drugs. That’s because keeping them in the wrong environment can actually make medication less effective and even harmful if within reach of children. With that in mind, here are seven tips to help you store and dispose of your medication correctly:
- Don’t assume bathroom is best. Your medicine cabinet may seem like the best place to store your prescriptions, but it’s not. Heat, moisture and light can affect the active ingredients in your medication, so a kitchen cabinet or in a secured box on your nightstand might be better. On your next visit to the pharmacy, talk with your pharmacist about what may affect your medication and where you should store it.
- Refrain from the refrigerator. Most medications are designed to be kept at air temperature -- between 70 and 80 degrees. With that in mind, consider leaving prescriptions in a secure room temperature container rather than storing them in the refrigerator, unless suggested by your physician or pharmacist. Liquid medications may require special storage and differ from this guideline -- this is also something that you should clear up with your pharmacist before bringing the prescription home.
- Keep it neutral. Avoid storing medication in rooms that may experience extreme temperatures -- such as your bathroom after a shower or above the stove in the kitchen.
- Stop the sunlight. Prescription bottles are designed to protect your medication from sunlight. Keep your prescriptions in their original containers if possible – this may also help you avoid simple dosage and storage mistakes when taking your medication.
- Secure for safety. Safely storing medication also means keeping it out of the hands of those who are not taking the drug. Prescriptions should be kept in a secure place and kept out of reach of children. Secure spaces may be keeping medication under lock and key such as in a safe, or in a designated spot only you know about.
- Dispose of the rest. When you’re done with your dosage and looking to dispose of the rest, contact your pharmacy. Most accept prescription “take backs” so they can safely dispose expired or unwanted medications. What should you not do? Flush it down the toilet.
If you’re concerned about how to store your medication, a conversation with your pharmacist is the perfect place to start. Want to learn more about your pharmaceuticals? Explore these blogs:
- Four Commonly Asked Pharmacy Questions Answered
- Is My Medication Covered by My Health Plan?
- 5 Questions to Always Ask Your Pharmacist
Photo credit: Eric Hunsaker