Where do you store your medicines at home? In the kitchen counter because it is easy to remember? Or, in a cabinet in your bathroom because that is the only space available?
If these are your usual medicine storage areas, then you are making a BIG mistake! Medicines can be rendered ineffective if stored in hot and humid places. Drugs are nothing but chemicals which need to be kept away from direct heat, sunlight or moisture to prevent any change in the chemical composition. Hence, it is important to store your medicines properly to ensure their medicinal value is not lost or altered and the drugs are not only effective but also safe.
Tips on how to store medicines at home
Most medicines are stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and in cool and dry place. Also, remember to store tablet strips and syrup bottles out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion. Do not stuff cotton, plastic or paper in pill bottles as it can reduce the potency of the medicine.
Q. What is the ideal temperature to store medicines?
Firstly, please read the storage instructions on the packaging to know the right temperature and place to store medicines. In most cases, the label may instruct that you store the medicine at room temperature, which is usually around 25°C. However, some medicines may need to be stored in the refrigerator. These include vaccines and injectables such as insulin. According to the World Health Organization, the right temperature for refrigerated medicines is usually 2-8°C. Remember, do not freeze the medicines.
Q. Are pill boxes safe?
The tablet/capsule strip not only retains the constituents of the drug but also acts as a natural defense against air and moisture. Sometimes, pill boxes are used to store medicines as they have compartments for each day printed on it, which helps people keep track of medication. However, in this case, many medicines are stored without their strips which means the pills are exposed to air. Moreover, tablets (nitroglycerin) kept in a pillbox can deteriorate in a week and hence, should be discarded thereafter.
Also, when you use a pill box, there is a high chance that you might not know about the expiry date of a medicine as you remove the cover and put it in a box. Hence, if you have a habit of putting your medicines in a pill box then you better note its expiry date to be safe.
Q. How to store syrups?
Syrups should always be stored away from sunlight and at room temperature unless specified otherwise on the label. Also, make sure you close the cap properly to prevent exposure to air and moisture as it might contaminate the syrup. It is also advised to not open a bottle filled with medicines or syrups frequently because it might retain moisture and affect the efficacy of the medicine.
Q. What is the right way to store reconstituted syrups?
In most cases, reconstituted syrups can be used for a week after you open the seal and prepare the syrup by adding water. Usually, these are stored in the fridge and not at room temperature. However, you should carefully read the how to use indication on the label to know the right way to store it. Also, do not use a reconstituted syrup which was prepared long back even if it is stored in a refrigerator. Discard after a week or the duration specified on the label.
Follow these simple tips on how to store medicines at home to ensure that the effectiveness of the drug is maintained and the medicine is safe to use.