Posted by: Ellen Hankes | June 15, 2009

Medication: Why, Where and When to Store?

Meds_06_10_09Our appetite for pills has kept pace with the pharmaceutical industry’s placement of ads on television, in magazines and just about every other available space. Today’s home medicine cabinet is filled with promises to feel better, move faster and preserve health now!

Here are three simple questions to ask about your medication storage:

Why do I have that medicine container? Is the medication, either prescription or over-the-counter, currently being taken? When was the last time it was used? Recommendations vary on how long to keep medicine. Some sources say that most, but not all, medications continue to be highly effective even after the expiration date. The high cost of researching longer shelf life of drugs prohibits pharmaceutical makers from predicting effectiveness after relatively short windows of time.

Where is the best place to store medications? Two of the most popular places for storing medicine containers are the bathroom and the kitchen near the stove. However, these warm, moist areas are not the best places to store medications.  Find a place that is easily accessible only by the users of the medication. The storage area should be dry, dark and relatively cool as well as secure. Use a tote or decorative box to hold small containers such as pill bottles.  Read and  follow directions on liquid medications, refrigerating them if recommended.

When should I keep old medicines? Most importantly, take all medications as prescribed. Avoid keeping a few antibiotics “just in case.”  Be aware that leftover pain medicine could be stolen or abused by others. When discarding any medication, check with the pharmacy for current recommended disposal practices.

Is it time for you to check your medicine cabinet?


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