Tips for proper storage of medications

Where you store your medicine can affect how well it works. Many factors can damage your medication, including heat, air, light, and moisture. Exposure of medication to inappropriate conditions may render them ineffective, less potent, or they may go bad before the expiration date, or even harmful.

  • Know that heat, air, light, and moisture may damage your medicine.
  • Follow storage instructions on the medication. Unless otherwise specified, keep them in a cool, dark and dry place. For example, store it in your dresser drawer or a kitchen cabinet away from the stove, sink, and any hot appliances. You can also store medicine in a storage box, on a shelf, in a closet.
  • One of the worst places to store medicine is in a bathroom cabinet! The temperature changes and moisture can cause the drug to become less effective and can even change the drug’s chemistry.  
  • Pills and capsules are easily damaged by heat and moisture. For example, Aspirin pills break down into vinegar and salicylic acid which irritates the stomach.
  • Keep medicine in its original container. If using a pill organizer, make sure all medications are easily identified.
  • Take the cotton ball out of the medicine bottle. The cotton ball pulls moisture into the bottle.
  • Store your medication out of sight and reach of children and pets, in a cabinet with a child latch or lock.
  • Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions - from room temperature, to refrigeration, to freezing. A medication that should be stored at room temperature means between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius; cool temperature means between 8 to 15 degrees Celsius; refrigeration means between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius; and freezing temperature means -10 to -25 degrees Celsius.

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