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The Do's and Don'ts of Home Medication Storage

When pharmaceuticals make it into our content, we have a tendency to write and discuss the manufacturing, engineering, and distributing side of the supply chain. What we rarely (if ever) discuss, is the link in the supply chain that most people interact with on a daily basis: the consumer and consumption side.

There are obvious reasons for this: most of our customer base is monitoring their drugs before they reach consumers. Dickson, for all intensive purposes is a B2B company, B2C is a smaller realm of our business.

That being said, it’s about time we talked about the consumer! Most, if not all of us have a medicine cabinet, herb cabinet, or first aid kit lying around our houses. Those things need to be monitored! Not monitoring with a temperature and/or humidity data logger per se, but kept safely stored and out of harm’s way. Here is our list of do’s and don’ts for home medication storage.

Do: Consult with your pharmacist.

Your pharmacist will know the intricacies of the drugs you are taking like the back of their hand. From storage conditions, to poison risks, consulting with the person who hands you your medication is worth the extra five minutes of your time.

Don’t : Leave expired drugs lying around.

Dispose of them correctly! Expired drugs are a disaster waiting to happen. Once you see the date on the bottle or container has been passed, stop using the drugs, and don’t just shove them back next to the tylenol. Annoying and a bit tedious, but a huge risk eliminator.

Do: Lock up your medication.

This one is a bit annoying as well, and may seem like overkill when it comes to vaccine storage. We swear, it’s not. For the protection of others around you, lock up your meds after every use.

Don’t: Store medication in direct sunlight.

Big time no-no. This is an inadvertent result of people not putting away and locking up (see above) their medication: it’s not like anyone tries to expose pills or liquids to direct sunlight. Rather, a large bathroom or kitchen window can lead to medication bottles and containers being hit directly by earth’s closest star’s light. That is never a good thing.

Do: Store room temperature medication in a cool, dry place.

We know temperature here at Dickson, and we know cool dry places. Basically, you don’t want to expose your room temperature medication to any extreme temperatures or humidity levels. Doing so can make the medication expire more quickly, or lose it’s potency.

Don’t: Ignore medication take-back programs.

We love these things! Just like you can recycle batteries safely, you can also recycle and dispose of medication safely. Leaving expired medication sitting around in your house is just asking for trouble. And throwing it out with the normal trash invites animals and humans to ingest it. So, research the medication take-back programs in your area for the drugs that you don’t use up.

Do: Know the phone number for your local poison control center.

9-1-1 should be your first choice when it comes to an emergency where too much medication was ingested by the wrong person, but having your poison control center’s phone number taped to the inside of your medicine cabinet is a great idea: they can give you relevant information that may prevent an emergency room visit.

Don’t: Forget about the elderly.

If you have a parent or grandparent suffers from memory lapses, alzheimer’s, dementia, or another brain-debilitating condition, this one should really hit home. When medication is one of the key aspects in fighting or stemming disease, forgetting to take medication, or taking the wrong amount, can be dangerous and devastating.