How to manage your medication

Medication requires careful storage and management to ensure safety and peace of mind.

16 May 2014
by Jade Robyn Davies

When it comes to managing your medication, safety is key. Being informed, staying organised and knowing how to store your medication will protect you and your family from pill-popping accidents and unexpected side effects.

Know the basics

Xoliswa Goba, Clicks pharmacist at Clicks in the Netcare Centre in Parklands, Cape Town, recommends storing your medication in a cool, dry environment. For medication that needs to be refrigerated, between 2 and 8°C is the ideal temperature. As for standard medication, room temperature is great (no more than 25°C) – overheating your medication will adversely affect its potency and expiration date.

Stay organised!

A daily medicine organiser (or dispenser) is essential when it comes to sorting and storing your medication. If you are juggling an extensive amount of medication, a pill dispenser will help make sure you are taking the right medication at the right time. It also puts another barrier between your medication and your children. If you are not already making use of one, get down to your nearest Clicks and look out for them near the dispensary.

Safety dos and don’ts

DO:
• Keep a clear list of the medication you are taking.
• Follow your prescriptions precisely.
• Regularly check the expiry date of medication before consumption.
• Keep medication out of reach of children. Goba recommends storing medication in the closable shelf of the fridge or in the highest cabinet in the kitchen, away from heat sources such as the stove and kettle.
• Store your medication in the coolest area of the house, especially in the hot , summer months.
• Double check storage specifications with your pharmacist.
• Take your medication at the same time every day.

DON’T:
• Take medication that has been prescribed for someone else.
• Keep medication in direct sunlight or areas of the house that are humid.
• Break, chew or crush tablets unless your pharmacist gives the okay, some medications are not effective unless swallowed whole.
• Change your prescription without your doctor’s knowledge and consent.
• Wait for your prescription to run out before refilling it.
• Use medication that has changed in consistency, colour or odour.
• Leave medication in the car where it may overheat.

Dispose of your medication the right way

Avoid disposing of old medication in the bin. If the medication comprises pills that dissolve easily, you can take matters into your own hands and dissolve them before rinsing down the kitchen sink. The first prize however is to leave it up to the professionals. Clicks provides a medicine disposal service – all you need to do is fill out a form and we will dispose of your medication in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner.