Important Tips to Consider When Storing Medications
- Most medications need to be stored at "controlled room temperature" which is defined as a room temperature 20-25 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Excessive heat (40 degrees Celsius/104 Fahrenheit) or freezing temperatures can result in loss of drug strength/potency or even alter the chemical characteristics of the medicine which can result in patient harm.
- Moisture can also reduce the potency of medications. If you have a medication bottle that contains a cotton plug, it is recommended to have it removed since that can draw moisture into your medication. Do not store medications in bathroom cabinets !!!
- Always check the expiration dates on stored drugs. If expired, please dispose of the product by mixing the unused medicine in your trash or give back to your local pharmacy for disposal.
- During the summer make sure home has appropriate air conditioning or climate control measures to ensure that medications are not exposed to excessive heat. Also, during the summer do not store your medications in the car or trunk to avoid extreme temperatures.
- If you are traveling by plane make sure you carry the medications with you rather placing them in your checked-in luggage to avoid possible extreme changes in temperature.
- You may consider refilling medications every month vs. every 3 months (mainly for prescription medications) to ensure the medication maintains its strength or potency.
- Keep medications out of reach of children and adolescents. Sometimes they can abuse them and/or unknowingly poison themselves.
- If the product has changed color, texture or odor (regardless of the expiration date) please do not use the medication and dispose of properly.
Video From CVS Regarding Proper Medication Storage
Video From The FDA About Drug Safety with Children
Sources for this post include:
Handbook on Injectable Drugs 11th edition 2001.