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Your Medicine Box: What's the Best and Safest Way to Store Medications?

by De C - March 4 , 2023

Medicine box
Medicine Box
Every year, thousands of people become ill because of improperly stored or expired medication. While most medication just loses its potency, some will take on other characteristics and become dangerous. If you've got a robust collection medicine, you need more than a simple little medicine box.

Follow these five tips for ensuring you safely store medication.

1. Keep It Safe From Kids

One of the most important tips for keeping medicine stored safely is to keep it in a place where it can't be accessed by kids. To kids, tablet medication looks a lot like candy. If they can't quite understand the consequences of taking medication they don't need, then it shouldn't be within their reach.

Keep your medicine box in a high location stored far away from your kids. For your most vital but dangerous medications, keep them in childproof containers that small children can't get to. IF you have teens or younger children who might be overly curious, take the extra step of locking things up.

While you might think that the containers you use are childproof, most of them are child-resistant at best. In cases where children are exposed to their grandparents' medicine, many times child-resistant caps were in place.

Older people keep their medicine in weekly or daily pill containers that kids can open easily. Consider choosing a medicine box that's secure if you're going to go this route. When you're staying with someone else or on vacation, choose a location for storing your medication that isn't out in the open.

2. Get Things in Pill or Tablet Form

When you have medication in a liquid form, you might notice that its expiration date is often not that far off. Take a look at pill or tablet medications and you'll find that they're going to last you a lot longer than the liquid. Tablets and pills are made so that they won't expire for several years, as long as they're properly stored.

Once you get your medication, put it in a vacuum sealed package. If you buy more than you need in the near future, vacuum sealing medication keeps it from deteriorating or degrading. Store your pills in a cool and dry place so that they'll be kept from any kind of accelerated degradation.

In order for your pills to remain effective for as long as possible, you need to effectively store your medication. Pills can even last a few years beyond their printed expiration date if you keep them in the right condition. Follow these tips and they'll last longer than you'd have anticipated with no loss in their effectiveness.

3. Sometimes You Have To Deal With a Liquid

When you have to deal with liquids, you can't expect them to last for as long as pills. Even when they're stored under ideal conditions, liquid medications are subject to the same kind of deterioration as any other kind of liquid. Over time, liquids degrade, their constitution changes, and they even crystallize.

When this happens, some people discard the medication, despite the fact that it hasn't lost any of its effectiveness. While liquids crystallize in storage, they keep a lot of their potency as they take on this new form.

Keep a mortar and pestle by your medicine box if this is the case. You can break up the crystals and reconstitute the medicine if need be. When you take the effort to break up the crystals and add them to a medium, as in a little bit of water, you'll be able to take the liquid medicine as before.

Liquids are hard to keep in good shape, even under ideal conditions. However, an unexpired but older liquid medicine isn't worth discarding if you can find a way to still use it.

4. Label Things Clearly

Whether you're bedridden and need someone to give you your medicine or struggle to remember the code on each pill, you need to label everything.

With the right labels on your medication, you can ensure that someone can help you out by getting you the pills you need. If you're sick and fuzzy-headed, the work you did to label your medicine in advance will pay off. If you have a friend or loved one visiting who gets sick in the middle of the night, they can get the medicine for themselves without waking you up.

A label stating what the medication is for and when you need to take it serves as a good reminder for you as well. It's hard to recall all the special instructions you need to remember when you're dealing with a lot of different medications. If you need a certain medication a year from now, knowing whether to eat before or after can make a big difference in your recovery.

5. Preserving Refrigerated Medications

While it might seem odd, there are some good tricks for preserving your refrigerated medications. There are some, like insulin, that you need to have around at all times but don't need to take frequently. While keeping things in a refrigerator is useful, if the power goes out, you've got about 12 hours before the air evens out.

The water in the tank of your toilet—not the bowl!—is going to be consistently 15-20 degrees cooler than the air in your home. That means that your toilet tank could be the best place to store things.

Get yourself an airtight container or a zippered baggie to store your medication in. Hang the bag over the edge of your tank and you'll have insulin that's properly stored at all times.

Expand Beyond The Medicine Box

While the standard medicine box has its value, properly storing your medication can put your mind at ease. Proper storage of medication ensures that it retains its potency and lasts for as long as possible, saving you money and a trip to the doctor.

If you need to dispose of old medication, check out our guide for more info.

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