Proper Storage and Disposal of Medications

Proper Storage and Disposal of Medications

With spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to give your home a good spring cleaning and get organized. It’s also an ideal time to clean out your medicine cabinets and dispose of medications that have expired. By going through your medicine cabinet, reviewing and cleaning out medicine that has lost its effectiveness, you avoid problems with ingredients that may have decomposed, evaporated, or become rancid.

Identify

Now that you’ve identified the medicines you want to keep, you’ll want to store them in an area that is convenient, cool, and dry since heat and humidity can damage medicines. Heat, light and moisture can deteriorate the active ingredients and cause your medicine to decompose. In order to protect medication in your home, avoid locations that are exposed to extreme temperatures. Also, avoid storage locations such as the bathroom, above the stove or on a windowsill. Most medications should be stored at room temperature. Avoid storing medication in the refrigerator, unless the pharmacist, label, or package insert advises refrigeration after opening.

Storage

When storing your medication, you’ll also want to find a safe place to keep them, like a cabinet or drawer with a lock on it. By being proactive in taking precautions about storing your medication in a safe place, you prevent accidental ingestion, misuse or abuse of your drugs by others in your home, particularly young people.

If there are children around, you might want to find an area where all medications in your home are kept out of reach and securely locked. You play a big role in keeping any medicines out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them because theft and abuse of prescription medicines is a serious problem.

Disposal

You can return medications and sharps to a pharmacy in your community through programs like the Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP), and the Ontario sharps Collection Program (OSCP). These programs ensure that when you drop off your medications and sharps, they’re disposed of properly and offer safe destruction. The safe disposal of medications will be kept out of the wrong hands, preventing abuse or accidental ingestion, needle stick injuries, and environmental damage.

Staying Compliant

One of the best reasons to be organized with your medications is to help you remain compliant with your prescriptions. Sadly, a high number of patients (30-50%) with chronic diseases fail to take their medications appropriately and as prescribed. Not only does this compromise and increase their health risks but health care costs rise as well.

If you can get into the habit of incorporating your medications in your daily routine and review them regularly, it will be easier to remember to take them and dispose of them as they expire. If you are taking multiple pills per day, the best way to organize them is to use a pill organizer to keep track of your medication. By being organized, aware of expired dates, and disposing of medications properly, you can help you and your family keep on a path to better health.

For more information regarding proper storage and disposal of medications, contact us today and we’ll be ready to help.

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