4 Safe Medication Handling and Storage Tips

This is a guest post by Amelia Wood.

When my mother was much younger, the only bottle she had on her kitchen counter was her daily women’s multi-vitamin. As the years passed by however, her health began to deteriorate, and that kitchen countertop began to display a cocktail of different medications.

As you get older, you may be forced to continually add a plethora of new medications to your list. It can become difficult, especially with age, to remember and keep track of all of them. But taking various medications is not just a game: you need to make sure that you’re managing your medications right.

1. Proper Storage


First things first: proper storage. One of the easiest ways for medications to lose their potency and therefore their effectiveness is to get them wet or damaged in some way. That said, medications must always be stored in dry areas, such as your bedroom or kitchen. The medicine cabinet or a low bathroom drawer is typically not the best storage choice because humidity can get in the jars after a hot steamy shower or a leaky faucet can damage your meds. When thinking about a place to store your medications, make sure that they are easy enough to access so you don’t risk injury, but that that they are also in a place where a small child or a pet can’t get hold of them.

2. Avoid Pill Boxes

If you need to take a lot of daily medications, pre-sorting your week’s-worth of medications in a pill box seems ideal – after all, it’s organized and is an easier way to remember to take all of the necessary medications. Some people also choose to mix different pills in one sole jar – but it is much safer to keep each pill in its own respective jar. Mixing your medications in the same container can be dangerous and cause additional conditions. You also always want to make sure that your physician is aware of all of the medications you are taking. That’s because combining certain medications can either

a) make you have a bad reaction or

b) make the medications counteract each other and lose their effectiveness.

3. Ask Your Physician to Reevaluate Your Medications Once a Year

New drugs are developed all the time and are typically better, stronger, and safer versions of the original. Thus it’s important that you are always aware of all of your options. Also, there may be some medications that you don’t need to take anymore because your situation has improved. Thus, it’s important to ask your doctor to take a look at all of your medications and reevaluate all of them to see if they are all truly necessary. If some are not, this means you can save some money and may even be better for your health.

4. Check for Expiration Dates

Last but not least you always want to check the expiration of your medications. Old medications lose their potency yes, but they can also change their chemical composition when they get old. That means ingesting them can cause an unintended (and potentially lethal) effect on the body. When you do decide to toss out expired medications, it’s important that you dispose of them properly. Do not throw them away in the trash. Pets and children can still get a hold of them. Instead, flush them down the toilet since they’ll disintegrate or return them to the pharmacy.

Author Bio: Amelia Wood pursues freelance writing projects in the medical billing and coding schools niche. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to wood. amelia1612 @ gmail.com.

Image Credit: courtesy of Ennor via Flickr

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