Many people prefer to buy medicines in advance. Be it a specific medication they need to take regularly or the drug for common flu. It is natural to keep them stored in advance. Most of the medicines can be safely stored at room temperature. This is because they can remain stable and work well regardless of the temperature they are stored at. However, this is not the case with all the medicines. Some medications are required to be refrigerated to maintain their stability.
You might have noticed how some medicines are kept in a refrigerator in a pharmacy but are safe to be kept at room temperature by the purchaser. Some have to be frozen at all times to maintain their effectiveness. You will be surprised to know that some medicines can stay at room temperature but have to be refrigerated once you start using them. Vaccines are usually required to be frozen at all times before using.
Reasons for Why Some Medicines Require Refrigeration
The method of storing has a significant impact on the effectiveness and potency of the drugs. If not stored appropriately, the medications can turn toxic and become harmful. Some of the reasons why some medicines require refrigeration:
Medicines that require refrigeration will lose their effectiveness if stored at any other temperature. Every drug/medication that comes on the market is tested several times to ensure its stability at various temperatures for a period. It helps in determining the temperature best for the medication’s chemical stability. In case of improper storage, it can turn toxic.
To keep your medication free of microorganisms and maintain its sterility, it is integral to refrigerate them. For example, many eye drops need to be refrigerated to prevent breaking down and losing their potency.
Many medicines also require refrigeration to maintain their physical form. At room temperature, they can melt even before you get the chance to use them.
Factors That Can Change Medications’ Temperature
Several factors can affect the temperature of your medications. Some of them are-
- Weather: If you live in a hot place and do not have access to air conditioning, there is a high chance of your medicine getting overheated. This might result in reducing its potency.
- Inside Your Car: Leaving your medicines inside your car for long periods can increase their chances of becoming less potent. This is because cars can get overheated during the summers, even when standing in the shade. Always store your medicine in a cool, dry place.
- Travel: While traveling, it is essential to keep your medication properly to maintain its chemical stability. Make sure not to expose it to heat for a long period.
- Transportation: While transporting medications from one place to another, some drugs that are more susceptible to heat can turn ineffective. Therefore, even during transportation, it is necessary to follow the recommended rules of storing.
How to Store a Medicine Properly
Following the necessary methods of storing your medications is essential to maintaining their effectiveness for a long time. Following are the tips to store your medicines properly-
Read the Label
Almost every medication comes with instructions on how to store it. Read the label and the temperature written. Following the instructions will ensure their effectiveness. If the label says that the medicine requires it to be refrigerated, keep it in a refrigerator. You can look for suitable refrigerators at 360medical.ca. You can also purchase a portable medication cooler for when you are traveling.
Know the Right Place
Many of us tend to store our first aid kits inside the bathroom closet. While you may think that the bathroom closet is dry, a hot shower can leave humidity inside the bathroom and the closet. Keeping them in your kitchen is also not safe as heat and humidity are also present there. You can keep them on your living room shelf or closet. The point is to store them away from the heat.
Away from Children
Always keep any medications away from the children. Strong medicines can be dangerous for children if taken. The best way to do this is to either put them on a shelf that they cannot reach or in a closet that has a lock.
Ask the Pharmacist
If you are not clear on the best way to store your medications, ask the pharmacist you bought them from. The pharmacist can help you gain clarity on the storage instructions.
No Exposure to Light and Moisture
The most important thing is to limit exposure to light and moisture. Do not let them come in contact with direct sunlight. Ensure that you have a backup option in case your place gets frequent power outages.
Other important things to consider-
- Check the expiry date of the drug before purchasing and using it.
- Do not take any old medicine with no label.
- If any drug has changed color or smell, do not use it.
- If the medication bottle has a cotton ball inside it, remove it.
- When disposing of a drug, do not flush them down the toilet.
- Throw the medication in the trash if expired or no longer required. Remember to remove them from their original containers.
Things to Keep in Mind When Traveling
When traveling for a long period, it is impossible to go without taking your regular medicines. Keep the following things in mind while traveling-
- Never keep any medicine in the glove compartment while traveling by car. The regular temperature fluctuation can be harmful to it.
- If traveling by air, keep them in the carry-on luggage.
- Bring your prescription to prevent any security issues.
- Keep the medications in their original bottles to avoid any confusion.
- Carry a medication cooler whenever necessary.
Medicines can be very expensive sometimes, so it is integral to store them properly. The general rule for storing most medicines is to keep them in a cool, dry place away from any humidity. Another essential thing is to keep them out of children’s reach and sight. However, certain medicines have specific storage instructions that must be followed to prevent any accidents. Following the instructions will ensure the potency of your medications and be beneficial for your health.