There are many things to consider when storing medicines. Temperature, humidity, moisture, and even the accessibility of the storage should be kept in mind especially that each medication has its own recommended storage conditions.
Proper storage is important because some medicines lose their effectiveness when kept above this minimum temperature. Some may change form and become difficult to use. For example, gel capsules may soften, and ointments and creams may become runny.
In general, medicines should be away from heat, moisture and sunlight. Most should be stored below 25°C and they should never be left in places where there is temperature excursion.1
Aside from the ones stated above, here are more things to consider to make sure that your medicines are stored properly:
1. Read the label.
a. Over the counter medicines usually come with inserts that provide the recommended proper storage instructions for the product. Make sure to follow the instructions to maintain the good condition of your medicines.
2. Avoid storing medicines in the bathroom cabinet
- Most medicines are recommended to be stored in a cool and dry place. Following this, a bathroom medicine cabinet is not the ideal place to store medication as it is susceptible to changing temperatures and humidity. Storing medicines here can affect the medicines’ efficacy. 2
3. Don’t store it above appliances
a. Heat and light from electric appliances like refrigerators can affect the medicine. It is advisable to avoid the kitchen, sink and stovetop since the heat can damage the medicines.2
4. Keep it out of reach of children
a. Medicines are meant to help cure diseases and keep us healthy. However, when taken the wrong way, it can be very dangerous. In the US, around 60,000 children yearly are rushed to the hospital because they mistakenly consume medicine that is not for them. 3
This is why you need to ensure that medicines are not within reach of children. Medicines should not be easily accessible to children as kids are very curious. They can be very determined to get into something they shouldn’t. Aside from keeping it out of their reach, preferably a high place, you can also make your medicine cabinet in child lock.
5. Organize your medicine according to type
a. It’s best to categorize your medicines in separate boxes instead of storing all of them together. Separate your oral medicines and external use medicines. Oral medicines including tablets, pills and syrups should be separated from external use medicines like topical creams, oils and eye drops to lessen the risk of taking the wrong medication.
6. Keep medicines in their original containers.
a. Do not remove the labels of your medicine. It is best to keep them in their original packaging for you to be able to properly keep track of its dosage, method of administration and expiry date.4
7. Get rid of expired and damaged medicines.
a. Make it a habit to organize your medicine supply every now and then. Keep track of their expiry dates and check their conditions. Never keep expired and damaged medicine in stock to make sure that no one will mistakenly take it. These compromised medicines can have adverse effects on one’s health.4
Improper storage may affect the shelf life of your medicines. Make sure to follow the label or pharmacist’s instructions when it comes to keeping your medicines at home.
- Keeping medicines safe. (https://www.findapharmacy.com.au/advice/keeping-medicines-safe)
- Where is the best place to keep your medicines at home? (http://www.returnmed.com.au/best-place-keep-medicines-home/)
- Keep your home safe for kids. (https://www.getreliefresponsibly.com/safety-in-the-home)
- Storing your Medicines. (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000534.htm)