Not the medicine cabinet! How to store medicines safely

Medication management is a common responsibility for people with Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions. According to the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University, more than 131 million people – 66% of American adults – use prescription drugs.

With Parkinson’s, medication management is a necessary balancing act to manage our symptoms as well. We do it to function and to do other things like exercise to fight progression. It’s a challenging and ever-changing part of our routine.

Many of us are aware of diet and timing as factors that contribute to the effectiveness 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 drug storage?

First, safety is paramount. To avoid potential accidents, limit exposure of a medicine to other people, especially children. Also, limit its exposure to heat, direct sunlight, and humidity to avoid drug degradation and reduced effectiveness.

Additional tips:

  • Do not store drugs in the medicine cabinet, which may seem ironic. This is because medicine cabinets are located in bathrooms and bathrooms can be hot and humid.
  • Avoid storing medicines on the kitchen counter to reduce potential exposure to direct sunlight, water, and people, especially children.
  • When traveling, carry medications with you to keep them in a controlled environment.
  • Avoid storing medication in your car for an extended period.
  • Keep the original containers, but remove any cotton that might be affected by humidity.

Are pill organizers and pill splitters safe?

Removing a drug from its original container could affect its stability and safety. Splitting the pills could result in inaccurate dosing. Both of these situations could result in reduced effectiveness.

However, when the convenience of an organizer is needed, many different options are available. Choose one based on your physical and cognitive needs. Designer pill boxes are also 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 dosages are increasingly available for free at local pharmacies. This service could benefit people who have difficulty managing their medications on their own. It could also help someone avoid mistakes while allowing a sense of independence.

Medicines are meant to improve our quality of life. It is 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 medicine and forget about the medicine cabinet!


To note: News about Parkinson’s disease today is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or processing. This content is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or processing. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of anything you read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of News about Parkinson’s disease today or its parent company, BioNews, and aim to spark discussion about issues relating to Parkinson’s disease.

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