Where do you store your medicine? If you are like most people, you may keep your medications in the bathroom. Find out below why this is actually not a safe place to keep your medications and why it could be harmful to you and others.
How long has it been since you have really taken a close look at what’s inside your medicine cabinet? Whether you have birth control pills that you took before you had a baby, expired medications, or discolored pills, it is a good sign that you need to keep a closer eye on your medications—both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs—and that it is time to clean out the medicine cabinet.
What You Should Know About the Placement and Storage of Medications to Prevent Drug Errors
Did you know that many drug errors occur because people take the wrong medications? While this can happen as a result of pharmacy error, it can also occur due to the improper storage of medications. For example, when pills have been transferred to an unmarked bottle or container, or if the label has worn off of the bottle, it is very easy for people to take the wrong drug—a medication that could interact with other drugs, causing harm.
In order to help prevent taking the wrong drugs or bad medications, you should stick to these steps:
- Move your medicine cabinet from the bathroom to a place that won’t allow moisture and humidity to affect your pills.
- Keep all medications and vitamins away from any heat and moisture.
- Make sure all pills and vitamins—especially those containing iron—are locked up so that kids cannot get into them in order to prevent pediatric medication poisonings. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 30 percent of children’s deaths involving medicines have been caused by iron-containing supplements.
- Always get rid of any medicine that your doctor has advised you to stop taking.
- Check your pills bottles for expiration dates. If the medicine is expired, throw it out.
- Don’t keep unmarked pill bottles or bottles that have worn off labels. Always keep pills in their original pill containers.
- Check your medicine for pills that are discolored, spotted, or that have a foul smell. If any of your medicines do look or smell this way, you should get rid of them.
Many people hold onto their medicines far too long and keep them in places where they can deteriorate. In order to help protect yourself from making a medication mistake, you should clean out your medicine cabinet and move your pills to a better storage place that is cool and dry. When throwing out expired and bad medications, you can wait for a “take back” day sponsored by a local agency, or you can take them out of their original container and mix them with coffee grounds or another undesirable substance and seal them up in a bag or canister before throwing them away.
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