Almost 70% of American adults take at least one prescription drug, most commonly antibiotics, antidepressants, or painkilling opioids. More than 50% take two prescription drugs (Mayo Clinic News Network). Additionally, nearly all of us reach into our cabinets now and again for over-the-counter medications. Needless to say, medication is often a regular and important aspect of our lives, and how we take care of our medications is just as important. Read on for 4 tips for proper storage and handling of medications.
1. Be Safe in Medication Storage
There are a number of things that can damage the effectiveness or life span of your medication. The main ones are moisture, heat, air, and light. This means that the best place to store your medication is in a dry, cool place, so avoid the common storage area of the steamy bathroom cabinet (Medline Plus). To preserve the quality of your medication and keep children and pets safe, make sure not to leave your medication bottles open for any reason. It is also important to store your medication in a place where children or pets cannot reach them.
2. Check the Expiration Dates
Did you know that medications have expiration dates? If you have bottles of medicines that have been lying in your cabinet for years, it's time to dispose of them, they’re not doing you any good (Medline Plus). Different medications also have different expiration dates, so make sure to pay attention to each. Perhaps write up a list of your different medications with their expiration dates and hang it wherever you store your medication!
3. Dispose of Damaged Medication
Sometimes your medication can get damaged and be unusable, even if it hasn’t passed its expiration date. If you notice any changes in the appearance, smell, or texture of your medication from when you first acquired it, it's best to dispose of it. Using damaged medication can be harmful to your health (Medline Plus).
4. Dispose of Medication Properly
It is important to dispose of expired, damaged or unused medication responsibly. Simply throwing them away can have negative consequences. Instead, place them in a sealed bag and mix with something like coffee grounds or kitty litter as this will ruin the medication. Do not flush medication down the toilet as it can damage the water supply. If you have unused medication, you can take it to your pharmacist or use a "drug give back" program. This way, you can ensure that you are being responsible and protecting the environment.
Keep yourself and your family safe, and make sure that you are being benefited by the medication that you take, by properly storing and managing your medication. Have questions? Call your pharmacist! At Compass Community Health, our Pharmacy Staff would love to support you! The Compass Pharmacy is open 9am-6pm Mondays through Fridays, and our phone number is (740) 351-1500.
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