Keeping medicine safe at home

January 26, 2022
4 minute read

Do you have that one place in your home where you keep all your medication or first aid kit? Does it have repeat medications in it? Are there medicines at the back of the cupboard which you are unsure what they are used for? If you answered yes to any of these, it’s likely you have what’s known as a medicine cabinet at home.

Whilst it is a good idea to keep all medicines at home in one place (unless otherwise stated), most of us don’t spend the time to sort through it and keep on top of it. It’s important to do this to minimise errors when taking your medication. For example, taking the wrong type of medication, or taking medication that is out of date, which could lead to significant ill-health.

In this blog, we’re providing you with a guide to organise and prepare your medicine cabinet to help manage your medication with ease at home.

Storage of medication

Storing medicine at home is best kept in one secure location (unless any medication states otherwise, for example, requires refrigeration). This will help to ensure better compliance and help you manage your medication routine. Medication at home is also best kept in a safe place, closed off from children or pets. A cupboard just above eye-level, and preferably locked, in a cool, dry area is ideal. A bathroom is not an ideal place to store medication as the ever-changing moisture and temperature can alter the bioavailability of the medication.  

As a summary, medication should be:

  • Kept out of sight and away from children
  • Locked up safely
  • High up (eye level preferably)  
  • Stored in a cool, dry area (away from direct sunlight)

Please speak to one of our pharmacists if you have any questions about storing any of your medication at home.

Tips for clearing out your medicine cabinet

Our pharmacists at Phlo recommend you give your medicine cabinet a clear out every three months to make sure you are only taking medication that is in date and still required. Our top tips for doing this are:

  • Check the dates on any medication you have at home whether it’s a prescription or over the counter medicine such as cough medicine. Do not take any medication that is past the expiry date. Instead, take it to your local pharmacy where they will hold special medication bins to dispose of it safely.
  • If you have been advised and it is recommended to you, you can organise your medication using a ‘pill box’ or ‘dosette box’ which you can store your medicine in.
  • Alternatively, write out a medication plan to help you develop a routine of what medication to take and the timing intervals it is best taken. This can be placed inside the door of your medicine cabinet at home to help you remember or in safe place convenient to you i.e. a drawer.

Tips for how to manage your medication at home

  • Always follow the instructions on the medication label or the information leaflet inside.
  • Do not take more than the stated dose. Instead, speak to a pharmacist who can best advise if you have any concerns or require further guidance.  

When you use the Phlo app, we send you handy reminder notifications when you need to re-order your prescription, so you have one less thing to worry about.

Disposal of out of date or unwanted medication

If you have any medication at home that is out of date, unused or is no longer needed, take it to a local pharmacy who can dispose of it safely for you. Do not flush any medication down the toilet or drain at home and do not throw it in the bin.

Medication prescribed or sold is for the purpose of patient-use only and should not be shared or distributed, even if unused and unopened. You should return the medication to a local pharmacy for safe disposal.

If you have any questions about anything discussed in this blog, please contact our pharmacy team who will be happy to speak with you.

When you use the Phlo app, we send you handy reminder notifications when you need to re-order your prescription, so you have one less thing to worry about.

Download the app today on the Apple App Store or Google Play!

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Content last reviewed on:
January 26, 2022
Next review date:
January 26, 2024
Further reading
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