A: Many people store their medications in the bathroom, but that is actually one of the worst places to store medicine. The warm, humid environment can speed up the time it takes for a medication to break down and become less effective. If you store medications in the kitchen, keep away from the stove, sink or any other hot appliance. Medications should be kept in a cool, dry place always in the original container. Do not leave cotton in the bottle as this may draw moisture in. Do leave the small desiccants in the bottle as they help keep the moisture level down.
Make sure the area is inaccessible to children or pets. You may even consider keeping the medications in a locked cabinet or drawer, especially if you take certain medications for pain, anxiety or ADHD. Check expiration dates frequently and check with your pharmacist to find out when to dispose of prescription medications. Dispose of any medication that has a change in color, texture or odor even if not expired.
To properly dispose of medications, check with your pharmacist. Many pharmacies can take back certain medications for disposal. Look for community “take back” events to dispose of controlled medications. You can also crush the medication and put in a sealed plastic bag with coffee grounds, kitty litter or other inedible substance. This may be thrown away in the trash.
Information provided by Jen Alexander Pharm.D., pharmacy manager, Nucara Pharmacy, 4927 Maple Drive, Pleasant hill, 515-264-1503.