Every medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, has its own safe handling instructions and even has an expiration date.
It is important to become familiar with and understand these requirements. Some prescriptions require refrigeration.
Most can be kept at room temperature. All should be stored in a place where they are not easily accessible which can lead to
an accidental overdose, especially by children or even pets.
What most people refer to as their Medicine Cabinet, easily accessible in their bathroom is actually one of the worst places to store your
medications due to the steam that accumulates, especially when taking a hot shower. This moisture can deteriorate medications while
medications not kept at the appropriate temperature in a refrigerator can spoil and therefore will not provide the proper therapy.
This is just as important as taking your medication regimen exactly as prescribed by your physician. If you have any questions or concerns
about your medication instructions or proper storage, contact your physician or pharmacist.
Take the time each month to review your medicines for expiration dates and storage requirements to ensure that you are handling them
correctly. Any medications that are expired or you are no longer taking should be properly discarded, and this does not mean thrown
out with the trash. Disposing of medications improperly by throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet can be harmful.
This innocently puts prescription medications on the black market where they are sold for a significant cash value or allows them to
wreck havoc on the environment.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to address this public safety and health issue.
A couple times a year "National Take-Back day" helps promote prober disposal of medications. Collection sites in your local community can
be found by going to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.