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Monday, August 8, 2022

Not the Medicine Cabinet! How to Safely Store Medications

Managing medications is a common responsibility for those with Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions. According to Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, more than 131 million people — 66% of U.S. adults — use prescription drugs.

With Parkinson’s disease, managing medications is a balancing act required for us to also manage our symptoms. We do it to function and to do other things like exercising to fight progression. It is a challenging and ever-changing part of our routine.

Many of us are cognizant of diet and timing as factors that contribute to the efficacy of our medications. But there are also guidelines for storing our medications, and sometimes the most convenient places are wrong.

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So, what are some of the guidelines for safe medicine storage?

Firstly, safety is paramount. To avoid potential accidents, limit a medication’s exposure to other people, especially children. Also, curb its exposure to heat, direct sunlight, and moisture to avoid a breakdown in the medication and reduced efficacy.

Additional tips:

  • Don’t store medications in the medicine cabinet, which may seem ironic. The reason is that medicine cabinets are located in bathrooms, and bathrooms can be hot and humid.
  • Avoid storing medications on the kitchen counter to reduce potential exposure to direct sunlight, water, and people, especially children.
  • When traveling, keep medicines with you to maintain them in a controlled environment.
  • Avoid storing medications in your car for an extended period of time.
  • Keep original containers but remove any cotton that could be affected by moisture.

Are pill organizers and splitters safe?

Removing medication from its original container could affect its stability and safety. Splitting pills could lead to inaccurate dosing. Both of these situations might result in reduced efficacy.

When the convenience of an organizer is necessary, however, many different options are available. Choose one based on your physical and cognitive needs. Designer pill boxes also are available.

One option currently gaining popularity is to use prescription services that offer pre-sorted daily doses. Many of these services are now available online. Pre-sorted dosing is increasingly becoming available for free at local pharmacies. This service could benefit people who struggle to manage their medications on their own. It might also help someone avoid mistakes while still allowing for a sense of independence.

Medications are meant to improve our quality of life. It’s important to maximize their benefits by avoiding mistakes and preventing accidents. Talk to your doctors and pharmacists, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Think about where you store medications, and forget the medicine cabinet!


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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