If you store your medications and OTC’s in the bathroom medicine cabinet you may want to consider keeping them in another spot. Keeping your meds in a cool, dry place helps in maintaining the integrity of them – and the “medicine cabinet” located in your bathroom has a lot of high humidity due to showers and baths. Skye McKinnon, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy said the ideal temperature range for meds is 68 to 77 degrees, though 58 to 86 degrees is acceptable. A hallway linen closet, or a kitchen cabinet away from the stove and oven might work. Of course, keeping them on a high shelf, or in a locked box is important if you have kids or pets around.
When you are driving with medications, take them out of the car when you get out, and if you are flying carry them with you. Baggage holds for checked baggage do not have controls for temperature changes. If you have medications sent to your home, consider overnight delivery – or be vigilant about checking your mailbox. It’s all about temperature fluctuations – you don’t want your meds to get too hot or too cold. What about the expensive bubble or foil pack packaging that has become popular recently – can they better protect prescriptions and OTC’s from temperature changes? No, according to experts the newer packaging offers no more protection than the “old fashioned”pill bottles. If you have questions about your medication storage, check with your pharmacist. He or she can be a great resource for you….. NY Times August 2011