Knock offs or the real deal? Long known to be safe, effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generics now make up 80 percent of all prescriptions filled.
The summer is heating up and traveling is back into swing – making it the perfect time for a refresher on how to store your medications.
Here are some quick tips and friendly reminders to keep you and the fam safe and healthy …
Rethink your medicine cabinet.
Surprisingly, your medicine cabinet is not the best place to store your medications. Steamy showers and warm water make bathrooms hot and humid – which can lessen the potency of your medications. It’s better to store them in a cool, dry place such as your bedroom or kitchen.
Traveling by plane? Keep your meds with you!
When flying, it’s best to keep your medications with you because you never know if your checked bags might get lost. Plus, checked bags are susceptible to extreme temperatures in the cargo hold that can impact a medication’s effectiveness.
Road tripping? Be careful about storing meds in your car.
With the hot summer months upon us, temperatures inside of cars can easily reach triple digits. Try to keep your car cool, and when you leave your car, take your meds with you so they are not exposed to direct heat or sunlight.
Look out for the littles.
Kiddos are quick and curious. Always keep medications out of reach and out of sight of children. Look around your home for places that are out of the grasp and eyeline of a small child, like the highest shelf in a tall kitchen cabinet.
Keep medications in their original containers.
If the pill bottle comes with a cotton ball, remove it when you first open as it can draw in moisture. Original containers also come with childproof caps that add another layer of safety.
What to do with your expired meds?
One option to explore is what’s called “drug take back programs.” There’s an annual day dedicated to this as well as year-round opportunities to dispose of your meds.
If a take-back program is not readily available, another option recommended by the FDA is to take the pills out of the bottle and put them in a sealed bag with coffee grounds or kitty litter, rather than throwing them out in the trash. Also, be sure to scratch out any personal information on the bottles in case someone might go through your trash looking for drugs. In some cases, medications may be flushed down the toilet – see the FDA’s disposal drug list: Drug Disposal: FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines | FDA.
For more information on what to do when you no longer need your medicines, visit this FDA page.
If you have any questions about how to store your medications, always ask your pharmacist!