Rx for Medication
The Medicine-Free Cabinet: The shelves in your bathroom are fine for storing deodorant, razors, and cotton balls, but not so good for medication. Humidity and drugs dont mix well. Ditto for sunlight and heat. Generally a dark, cool, shelf or drawer, is your best bet to avoid deterioration. Unless specified on the label or directed by your health care provider or pharmacist, dont ever store medication in the refrigerator.
Older Is Not Better: You may be aging well, but the pain medication that dates back to the Reagan administration, hasnt fared so well. Pills that have passed their expiration datesyes, they do have expiration datesmay degrade and loose their potency, or worse, become toxic.
Dont Flush: Unless the package labeling states that the drug should be disposed of by flushing down the toiletdont. But dont just toss drugs in the trash, either. A little prep work is in order. While guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that most drugs can be safely trashed, you should take them out of their original containers, mix with something that wont appeal to children or petslike coffee or kitty litter--and put into a sealable bag, empty can or other container to prevent the medication from leaking of breaking out of the garbage bag.
Take Them Back: According to the FDA, there are a growing number of locally-based take back programs designed to offer an environmentally safe way to dispose of drugs. Call your city or county governments household trash and recycling service to see if one is available in your community.
Carry On: To avoid the sometimes extreme temperatures of an airplanes cargo hold (and to be sure that lost luggage doesnt affect your health) pack your medications in your carry-on bags. Its also a good idea to keep medications in their original bottles, to avoid confusion and to expedite replacement, if necessary. if you regularly take medication, keep a card with the latest infomedication, dosages, frequency of dose, with you, in case of emergency,