How Safe Is Your Medicine Cabinet?

Chances are your medicine cabinet is stuffed full of prescription pill bottles and over the counter medicines.

That little cabinet over your bathroom sink isn’t necessarily the best place to store your prescriptions, according to a local expert. The warm temperatures and steam don't make a good environment to store medicines. It also offers too much access to children.

Now is as good a time as any to check your medicine cabinet to eliminate those items that could be dangerous or past due.

Here are 6 tips on how to make sure your medicine supplies at home are safe, according to Grace Kuo, PharmD. 

  • Create a proper place to store medicines at home. Avoid the bathroom cabinet, check expiration dates and dispose of drugs that are expired. 
  • Do not take two or more medicines with the same ingredients at the same time, unless advised by healthcare professionals 
  • Compile a complete medication list (with information about name, dose, route, frequency, duration) 
  • Tell physicians and pharmacists about all medications (including over-the-counter and supplements) 
  • Take medications as directed (at the right dose, right time, right frequency) 
  • Stock "must-haves" (measuring spoon, syrup of ipecac, low dose aspirin, etc.)

Kuo is with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and the University of California-San Diego Health Services Research Center.

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