As a pharmacist, I am often asked regarding proper medication storage. Most medications that do not require refrigeration should be stored at controlled room temperatures- in a cool dry place.
However, when I ask people–“where do you store your medications?” The answer invariably is the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. If you think about the temperature variances and humidity in a typical bathroom, you understand this is the worst place to keep medications.
Medications breakdown much faster and may not work as well. Understandably there is a great deal of confusion that contributes to storage issues. For example: why are bathroom cabinets called “medicine cabinets”? Why do pharmaceutical commercials often show a host of medications stored in a “bathroom medicine cabinet”?
What are some concerns with improper storage?
A few include:
- access- who has access to that bathroom where you store medicines?
- potential breakdown of medication due to temperature variances
- safety- potential accidental poisonings.
The best place to store medications is on a high shelf, preferably with a lock to restrict access. Expired medications should be routinely inventoried and discarded using proper guidelines. Do not throw old medications down the sink or toilet as these will enter our water systems. Safe use of medications requires proper storage as well as use.
Malini Ghoshal RPh MS