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How to Store Prescription Medication at Home

News June 11, 2019 | CanadaOnlineHealth

You may think that you’re doing yourself a favor by keeping your medicine on your bathroom counter so you don’t forget to take it, but is having it in a steamy room after you shower actually harming your medication?  Whether you are taking vitamins, such as Vitamin D, over-the-counter medication, or prescription medication, how you store them is important.

Rule #1 – Ask your pharmacist

Your pharmacist is always there to answer your questions about your prescription medication, no matter how small or silly the question may feel.  So when you are presented with a new prescription, along with making sure you know how to take your medication and when, take a moment to ask your pharmacist how to store your medication.

There are several things you should take into consideration when you are storing your medication. It’s important to read the label on your medication for any storage instructions. Some medications need refrigeration, others need to be kept out of bright light, and some need to be kept dry.   In general it’s a good idea to keep your prescription and non-prescription medication in a cool, dry place, and ensure that it is safely out of reach from children and your pets.

Other important tips to know:

Keep your pills in the original bottle or container they came in.  Not only is it a good idea to have the information from the label, such as how often you should take the medication and how many refills you have left, those little bottles are actually designed to keep out moisture and, in some cases, protect the medication from light.   The cap on most medication bottles is childproof to stop curious children from opening the bottle and accessing the medication.

Take the cotton out of the bottle.  The cotton is only in there to protect the pills while you transport your medication home, so they don’t break if you shake the bottle.  Once you open the bottle, remove the cotton and discard it.  Why? Left in place the cotton can absorb moisture and possibly affect your medication.

Do not expose your medication to heat or liquid.  Hot cars, and rainy window ledges, are just a couple of situations where heat or liquid/water can cause your medication to break down. If this happens you need to speak to your pharmacist about the condition of your prescription.

Do not store your medication in the bathroom. Yes, you have a medicine cabinet but unfortunately steam can and does get in there. Moisture can break down medications.  The same goes for keeping medication in a cupboard over the stove.  Cooking and boiling water releases moisture into the air that can negatively affect your medication.

When traveling do not store medication in the glove compartment.  Heat, cold, the car air conditioner, these can all damage your medication.    Carry your medication in your carry-on luggage, and in its original packaging. Read other tips on staying healthy while traveling.

Do not mix different medications in one bottle.  Sure, you may think it’s handy to do this but this is how mistakes happen, as you may take the wrong pill. Softer pills may also break as they bang against harder pills in the bottle.

It only takes a moment to ask your pharmacist about the best ways to store your medication.  By taking the rights steps you will ensure your medication stays intact, stays effective, and doesn’t cost you any money by having to be replaced.

If you have questions about any of these prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our discreet pharmacy representatives will be happy to answer your questions.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

Did you find this article helpful?  Other articles you may find interesting:

Ask the Pharmacist: How can I remember to take my medication?

Ten important questions to ask your pharmacist

It’s family vacation season! Don’t forget your prescription medication!

What is the difference between a generic drug and a brand name drug?

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