Need a doctor?
Tips for Medication Organization and Safety
Many people consider the change of seasons a good time to clean out and get organized at home. Medication is one category of household items that easily accumulate over time, and it’s important to regularly check what you have on hand and ensure you are storing them safely. This contributes to a tidier home, and these measures are also necessary safety precautions for you and members of your family.
Bayhealth Ambulatory Pharmacy Manager Madeline (Lynn) Byrne, RPh, CC, shared some tips to get a handle on medication organization and safety.
- Despite its name, the medicine cabinet is NOT the best place to store medicine. The humidity in bathrooms makes this a poor location. Store medications in a cool, dry place away from a lot of light. They should always be clearly identifiable and well out of reach of children.
- Every six months, go through what you have and check expiration dates on prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Medicine breaks down over time and expired products are not only ineffective, but in many cases can have harmful effects.
- Don’t forget about creams, ointments and other items like inhalers—these also have a limited shelf life and can cause more harm than good after expiration.
- Dispose of expired or unneeded medications properly. Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus now has a drop box outside the pharmacy where anyone can toss unneeded or expired medicine. There are more than 20 other proper medication disposals sites in Delaware, and state agencies have been participating in Drug Take-Back Day with disposal locations identified throughout the three counties.
- Each family member should keep a current list of all the medications they are taking, including the dose and frequency taken, and bring this to all their medical appointments.
Byrne said that it can be hard for people to keep track of what medications they have, particularly if they’ve been prescribed numerous drugs, so the pharmacies at both Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus and Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus are available to help.
“If an individual brings in a bag of medication, we can help go through it with them to ensure they are clear on the safe use and storage of what they have, and properly discard what is not needed,” said Byrne.
Visit Bayhealth's Pharmacy page for more information on the hours and services of the Bayhealth Pharmacy sites located at Bayhealth Kent and Sussex campuses.