Medicine Storage and Disposal

Where and how you store your medication matters

(RxWiki News) The bathroom cabinet may be convenient, but there are better, safer places to store your medications.

When you get your prescription, the first step when you get home should be to store it properly. Medications are expensive, and you want to store them in a way that ensures they do not go bad. You must also think about protecting others — no one wants to see a child injured because that pretty pink pill looked so much like candy.

Skip the Bathroom

Although the bathroom may be convenient — after all, it is called a "medicine cabinet" — it's not really a good place for your medications. The heat and moisture common to a bathroom environment can make your medications less potent or make them break down and go bad early.

Storage Recommendations

Generally, you want to make sure you store your medication in an environment that has a consistent temperature (does not fluctuate). Make sure you store your medication according to its instructions, whether that entails storage at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Take the following precautions:

  • Keep your medications in a cool, dry, dark place to prevent damage from heat, light, air or moisture.
  • Store your medicine in a cabinet or drawer with a child-proof latch or lock.
  • Store medications out of the reach or sight of children.
  • Keep your medication with you when you travel.
  • Don’t put medicine in the glove compartment of a car.
  • Don’t leave medicines where a pet could get into them.
  • Don't combine medications and store them all together in one medication bottle.
  • Store medicine that might have street resale value under lock and key.

Be Safe

Even if your medication is properly stored, it may expire earlier than expected or go bad.

If the medicine looks odd in some way — the color has changed, it smells bad or the texture has changed — don’t take it, even if it hasn’t officially expired. Nor should you take pills that have cracked, stick together, or seem harder or softer than normal. And do not keep medicine beyond its expiration date.

If you have a question about storing your medications, ask your pharmacist.

Last Updated:
April 23, 2020