Friday, October 21, 2011

Pharmacy Fact Friday

The bathroom is the worst place to store medication.

Yes, it's true. The room with a "medicine cabinet" is not an ideal place to store medication. In order for drugs to work properly in the body they need to be stored in an environment where they will be chemically stable. The bathroom is a poor place for medication storage because there is increased moisture, increased heat, and an increased level of bacteria. All of these things can contribute to the breakdown of the chemical structure of your medication and reduce the effectiveness and potency of the drug.

Follow these steps from Medline Plus to ensure your medication is stored safely:
  • Keep medication out of children's reach.
  • Always keep the medicine in the original container.
  • Don't leave the cotton plug in the bottle, this can draw moisture into the container.
  • Check the expiration date each time you take a drug. Replace the medications that are out of date.
  • Never use a medication that has changed color, texture, or odor, even if it is not expired. Throw away capsules or tablets that stick together, are harder or softer than normal or are cracked or chipped.
  • Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.
The kitchen is a good option for storing your medications. When choosing a cabinet in the kitchen you want to pick one that is NOT next to the stove, sink, or dishwasher. Medications should also be stored in a cabinet that cannot be reached by children. It is a good idea to put your medications in a cabinet you open every day. When you open the cabinet to get a bowl or glass you will see the medication and it will serve as a trigger to remind you to take them.

If your medications are currently stored in the bathroom take some time to transfer them to a better location. As you are doing this look over your prescription bottles and over the counter products to ensure the medication is not expired. If you find medications you no longer take or are expired read this post to learn how to properly dispose of them. This post discusses the importance of proper drug disposal and it talks about the prescription take back initiative. This program is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement. The next prescription take back day will be held on October 29th from 10AM-2PM. To find a location near you click here.

That concludes your third Pharmacy Fact Friday! Have a great weekend and good luck cleaning out your medicine cabinets!

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