Medication can be very complicated and confusing, which can often lead to improper use. With 82 percent of American adults taking at least one medication and 29 percent taking five or more, medication errors are more common than you may think. Many common mistakes come from taking the wrong medication, using incorrect dosage, combining medications that shouldn’t be combined, or forgetting to take a dose of medication on time. The best medication safety advice is to fully read the label and listen to your medical provider and pharmacist. Medications are generally safe when used as prescribed, but errors occur far too often.
Storing medications safely
Contrary to popular belief, the bathroom “medicine cabinet” isn’t the best place to store medications, especially if you have children or guests with children. While most medications need to be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, some medications require refrigeration or specific temperatures. You should always review the instructions on the label before storage. Here are a few tips for storing medications safely:
- Don’t remove the label under any circumstances.
- Don’t move the medications to another container unless you’ve been instructed on how to use a pill sorter properly.
- If you have multiple people living in your household, store each person’s medications separately or color code the medications to avoid confusion.
- Store medications high up and out of sight, even if you don’t have children of your own. Children of guests can get into your medication in the blink of an eye.
- Your bathroom medicine cabinet may not be the best place to store medications, despite the name. Showers and bathtubs can make your bathroom too humid.
Dispose of expired, unused, or unwanted medication the right way
Disposing of medication the right way can protect people and the environment. Studies show medicine in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse with the majority of abused prescription drugs being obtained from family and friends. In addition, the usual methods for disposing unused medicine – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.
There are several local locations where you can safely dispose of unwanted medications. Pills can be dropped off in their original containers or dumped all together in a plastic bag.
Lakeland Hospital Niles Pharmacy
31 N. St. Joseph Ave., Niles
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Lakeland Medical Center Pharmacy
1234 Napier Ave., St. Joseph
Open 24 hours
Lakeland Pharmacy Shoppe
3900 Hollywood Rd., St. Joseph
Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.