How to keep your medicines safe

Every medication has its own recommended storage conditions. Some may require room temperature, while others may require refrigeration or freezing.

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Medicine
Picture: Pixabay
Dr. P K Sreekumar
Latest posts by Dr. P K Sreekumar (see all)
3 min. read

Every medication has its own recommended storage conditions. Some may require room temperature, while others may require refrigeration or freezing. Though majority of medications may be stored at room temperature, in a cool dry place, it is advisable to check with your pharmacist about any specific instructions.

Try to avoid the kitchen, since heat from the stove, sink, or heavy appliances could damage your medicine. Always remember to store your medication out of the reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion. 

With the summer getting warmer with each day, you need to also weigh in climate changes.
1. Room temperature means between 15 to 25 degrees,
2. Cool temperature means between 8 to 15 degrees,
3. Refrigeration means between 2 to 8 degrees and
4. Freezing temperature means -10 to -25 degrees Celsius. 

Children’s liquid antibiotics may have different recommended storage conditions. Some liquids must be refrigerated (cephalexin), while some should be stored at room temperature (azithromycin).

Gif: Giphy

They may have different expiry dates depending on variations in chemical composition (amoxicillin). However, in the case of prescription drugs, unless they are dispensed in the original manufacturer’s container—the amber or white plastic bottle the pharmacy dispenses—they may not come with a storage range.

The best way to find the correct storage temperature for prescription drugs is from the label. While on the road Summer vacations are a great time to travel, but it is important to make sure that your medicine travels safely with you. When packing for a trip, always make sure to store your medication in the original labelled containers.

Carry a copy of the prescription to avoid problems as well as to facilitate drug identification in case of an emergency. Do not try to save luggage space by combining medications into a single container. Always bring your medications with you in your carry-on luggage, and consider placing silica packs in medication vials if extended travel is planned in hot / humid environments. 

Also read other article of the Author: Crucial role of pharmacists in health care

Common medications with special storage requirements include insulin and liquid antibiotics. Insulin stays stable at room temperature for 28-30 days, and if you are carrying extra dosage that will not be used during this time period, it must be refrigerated for the duration of travel. This can be accomplished using a cooler or a chilled thermos, which should then be refrigerated once you reach your destination. 

Medicine
Picture: Pixabay

What if you are traveling during the ‘dog days of summer’? Don’t leave your medications in the glove compartment or trunk of your car while off scouting the Grand Canyon. Temperatures can skyrocket in a closed car. In fact, don’t even leave them in the trunk while driving — keep them inside the car, where you can control the temperature. 

For anyone who is camping, hiking or just away from home and needs their medication with them, it is desirable to store it in a waterproof,  airtight container, away from direct sunlight, in a backpack or bag.  The author is Deputy Drugs Controller, Kerala 

YOUR KIDS’ TABLETS
Children’s liquid antibiotics may have different recommended storage conditions. Some liquids must be refrigerated (cephalexin), while some should be stored at room temperature (azithromycin). They may have different expiry dates depending on variations in chemical composition (amoxicillin) and need to be stored accordingly

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