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Published on March 26, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Safe Medicine Storage

If you have prescription medicine in your home, it is your responsibility to properly safeguard and dispose of it.  Here are some general rules to follow:

The Don'ts

  • DON’T leave medicine in places that are easily accessible to children or pets.
  • DON’T store medicine in a bathroom medicine cabinet where humidity and temperature changes can cause damage.1
  • DON’T share prescription medicine. Healthcare professionals prescribe specific medicine for individuals based on personal medical histories and other health factors. A medicine that works for one person may cause harm — even death — to someone else, even if symptoms are similar.
  • DON’T take medicine in front of children who often mimic adults.

The Dos

  • DO ask your community pharmacist if any of the medicine you have been prescribed may have the potential for abuse.
  • DO lock up medicine that is at risk for being abused in a cabinet, drawer, or medicine safe.
  • DO keep medicine in a cool, dry place that is out of the reach of children.
  • DO store medicine in its original container — the label on the bottle provides important information about the medicine.
  • DO keep an updated list of all prescription medicine in your home. Take an inventory at least twice a year — when clocks ‘spring’ forward in the spring and ‘fall’ back in autumn, for example.
  • DO talk to your community pharmacist about how to properly dispose of unused or unwanted medicine. Additionally, you can access disposal information online at www.fda.gov by searching for “Rx drug disposal."
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