Storage of Medicine at Home

Are you keeping Medicines safely at home ?

Do you know that storing medicines correctly is just as important as taking them properly? As per WHO, medication errors are the leading cause of avoidable harm, adversely impacting patient safety. These errors can happen at home or in a hospital.

We all make several mistakes while storing medicines at home, such as:

  • Incorrect storage temperature:Storing medications in areas with extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) can affect their effectiveness.
  • Exposure to Light:Keeping medications in direct sunlight or under bright lights can degrade certain medications.
  • Forgetting to Close Caps Tightly: Inadequately closing medication containers can expose them to air and moisture, affecting their potency.
  • Ignoring Special Instructions:Some medications require special storage conditions (e.g., refrigeration). Neglecting these specific instructions can compromise their efficacy.
  • Improper Container Usage: Using containers not designed for medications, like plastic bags or non-sealed containers, can compromise the drugs' integrity.
  • Mixing Medications: Storing different medications together without proper separation may lead to confusion or accidental misuse.
  • Periodchecking:Failing to regularly check and discard expired medications with proper guidelines can lead to the use of ineffective or potentially harmful drugs.
  • Using Expired or Discolored Medications:Even if not visibly altered, medications can degrade over time, and using discolored or expired drugs may lead to adverse effects.
  • Failure to Keep Original Packaging:Removing medications from their original packaging may result in a lack of important information such as expiration dates and proper usage instructions.
  • Inadequate Childproofing: Not securing medications away from the reach of children can pose a serious risk.

You can reduce errors at home by following these 6 steps:

  • Retain the Label: Store medicines as per instructions given on labels. When you remove pills, try to retain the date section on the backside of the strip along with any other vital information such as strength or compound. Retain the original packaging and containers so that the name is visible.
  • Store medicines in a cool, dry place: Most medicines should be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, humidity, dust, and heat sources. Avoid storing medicines in the bathroom, as moisture and heat can degrade them. Some medicines do need refrigeration.
  • Organize medicines: Sort your medicines as per their purpose (eg. headaches, fevers, etc.). All medicines should be labeled and stored in different pouches for easy access and identification.
  • Dispose of expired medicines: Check your medicine box every three months to replenish any item that is missing. Keep track of expiry dates on available stock. Expired medicine can lose effectiveness and even be harmful. Dispose of such items, following proper disposal guidelines
  • Maintain a First-Aid kit:Keep stock of over-the-counter medicines and first-aid items for emergencies and minor emergencies.
  • Keep medicines out of reach of children: Children are naturally curious and can easily mistake medicines for sweets. Keep them out of sight and reach of children.

Patients should be proactive in understanding the specific storage requirements for each medication they are prescribed and adhere to proper storage practices to ensure the medications' safety and effectiveness.

An illustrative list of Medicines that you should keep at home:

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Tips to store medicines safely at Home


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Essential Items to keep in your First Aid Kit

Accidents and medical emergencies can happen at any time. Keeping a well-equipped First Aid kit with appropriate medical supplies in your house is important for ensuring safety and preparedness for such unforeseen events. The First Aid kit should be kept at an easily accessible place known to all.