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Where is the best place to store medicines?

Here is a quick quiz for you.

Where is best place to store medicines in the home? 

  1. The bathroom cabinet
  2. The kitchen windowsill
  3. In the fridge
  4. None of the above

You might be interested to know that the best answer is D.

Many medicines we take have a label advising that they must be stored below a certain temperature. This is because some medicines lose their effectiveness when stored above this minimum temperature and some may change form and become difficult to use.

Unfortunately the fridge is not always the best place, and it is best to talk to our pharmacist first about storing your medicine in the fridge.  Most eye drops are not best stored in the fridge because cold drops can often sting the eye more than room temperature eye drops. Medicines should also not be stored in the bathroom where heat and humidity can affected them.

In general, it is important to try to store medicines away from heat, moisture and sunlight. Most medicines should be stored below 25°C and they should never be left in warm places such as in front of a window where the temperature can reach high levels.

So, where is the best place to store medicines? NPS MedicineWise suggests storing medicines in a part of the house that is cool and dry, for example in an airtight container in the linen cupboard. They should be checked regularly to see that they remain dry, especially during prolonged periods of wet and rainy weather.

An exception to not storing medicines in the fridge is some liquid medicines and injection vials but only if the label says so. The fridge means the main compartment, not the freezer and if your medicines accidentally freeze, they are almost certainly unstable and therefore should not be used.

If you will be travelling in hot weather, never store your medicines in the glove box or on the dashboard where temperatures can get very hot.

Always check the label and the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet for storage instructions, and talk to us if you have any questions. If you think your medicine may have been exposed to higher-than-recommended temperatures, please feel free to give us a call to discuss.

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