How To Store Medicines Properly. In this article, you will read where should you keep your medications at home, what medicines should be kept cold, where should light-sensitive medicines be kept, how long should you keep your medications, what to do with open medicines, how to conserve medicines during a heat wave, and how to store your medicines while travelling.
Properly storing your medications is a guarantee of retaining their effectiveness and also prevents you from dangerous poisoning. As such, the storage conditions comply with specific rules. Here’s what you need to know about how to organize your medicine cabinet.
How To Store Medicines Properly?
Because a drug is a health product, its storage must meet several requirements. At what temperature should it be kept without jeopardizing its stability? Is the expiry date extendable?… Here, I will help you to see things more clearly. In case of doubt, your pharmacist remains the preferred contact.
Where should you keep your medications at home?
Medicines should be kept in a dry place, away from humidity and heat. For safe use, it is best to store these health products in a medicine cabinet, high up and locked, especially if you have children to prevent them from accessing them.
Finally, for practical reasons, but also for safety, be sure to keep your medicines in their original box, with instructions, and if possible with the prescription too. It is also advisable to separate medicines intended for adults from those intended for children, or even for your animals.
What medicines should be kept cold?
Some medicines must be stored in the refrigerator, at a temperature between 2° and 8°, according to the advice of your doctor, your pharmacist or the explanatory note. The drugs that are heat-sensitive are generally vaccines, hormones, eye drops, or creams.
This instruction should be scrupulously observed. Once out of the fridge, they should be used quickly. Their transport requires refrigerated insulated packaging (for example an ice pack). Also, make sure that the medicine does not freeze in contact with the source of the cold.
Where should light-sensitive medicines be kept?
Other medicines also contain packaging that specifically mentions “protect from light” or “keep protected from light”, this means that they are susceptible to photodegradation. In this case, it is advisable to keep them away from light, humidity and heat. Avoid places exposed to temperature variations. It is therefore better to also avoid the bathroom, the kitchen, or any direct light coming from the window.
How long should you keep your medications?
Just like food, medicines also have a limited shelf life. Their expiry date is indicated on the packaging, based on the stability of the medicine in its original closed container. This data must be carefully observed to avoid microbial risks, especially in the following drugs:
Oral solutions for children and infants
Ointments, gels or creams
Medicines without preservatives
Medicines for high blood pressure
What to do with opened medicines?
5, 15 days or more? Again, the deadline for your medicine is written in black and white on its packaging or leaflet. Some packaging indicates maintenance of a few days between 2 and 8 degrees. Others, without preservatives, such as eye drops, are to be thrown away after the first use.
How to conserve medicines during a heat wave?
The conservation of medicines during a heat wave depends on the conditions listed on the leaflet.
-Medications to be stored between + 2 and + 8°C must be stored in a refrigerator and used quickly, once taken out.
-Medications to be stored at a temperature below 25 or 30°C. Exceeding these temperatures occasionally, for a few days to a few weeks has no consequence on the stability or the quality of these medicinal products.
-Biological medicines (insulin, somatropin, etc.) in the multidose presentation can be stored outside the refrigerator after opening at temperatures not exceeding 25°C or 30°C. In the event of exposure to higher temperatures, it is recommended to have advice from the pharmacist.
-Medicines with no particular mention of conservation. Under normal storage conditions (medicine cabinet), these medicines are not affected by exposure to high temperatures such as observed during periods of a heat wave.
How to store your medication while travelling?
Medications to be stored between 2°C and 8°C should be travelled in a refrigerated insulated bag in order to maintain its temperature, without causing the product to freeze.
Medications to be stored between 25°C and 30°C or at room temperature should not be exposed to a heat source for a prolonged period (car trunk or glove box). It is best to keep them in insulated packaging.
Beyond these general recommendations, your doctor and your pharmacist will be able to advise you if you have any doubts regarding the storage of your medicines. Do not hesitate to contact these health professionals.
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