What are some ways you can store your medicines properly? The Department of Pharmacy at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) shares some tips.
Proper storage helps to ensure the safe and effective use of medicines.
Store medicines properly
Medicines should always be kept away from children in a cool, dry place, protected from light and refrigerated when necessary. Improper storage can affect the effectiveness and shelf life of your medicine. The following are important medicine storage principles.
Keep it cool, dark and dry
Medicines should be kept in a cool, dry place and protected from light.
- Exposure to light, heat and moisture can accelerate the breakdown of medicines, which may reduce their efficacy or cause superficial changes, e.g. discolouration.
- In a warm and humid country like Singapore, appropriate storage is thus particularly important.
Read the label
"It is good practice to read the label or leaflet that comes with your medicine as it may require special storage conditions," say pharmacists from the
Department of Pharmacy at
KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the
Liquids in the fridge please
Liquid formulations, such as syrups and suspensions, can support the growth of micro-organisms.
- As microbial growth is inhibited by refrigeration, liquid preparations without preservatives should be stored in the fridge.
- For medicines that require refrigeration, please store in an area within the refrigerator that maintains consistent temperature.
Preservatives stay out of the fridge
Conversely, the effectiveness of preservatives increases with temperature. Therefore, preserved preparations should not be refrigerated, unless specified by the manufacturer. An example is Cetirizine oral solution that contains parabens as preservatives.
Keep away from children
Medicines should always be kept away from children.Poisoning incidents involving children are often attributable to the accidental ingestion of medicines.These are usually preventable if medicines are stored appropriately.
- Therefore, medicines should always be kept in a locked drawer/cabinet or at higher levels, beyond the reach of children.
* Medicine that has changed colour, consistency or odour should never be used regardless of expiry.References: Lowe R.A. Storage, stability and in-use shelf-life guidelines for non-sterile medicines (2001) ConsumerMedSafety.org