Monday, November 28, 2011

Migraine 101: 5 Guidelines for Medication Safety

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Most of us who live with migraine disease use at least one kind of medication, whether over the counter or prescription. It is extremely important that we take care in how we store these medications to ensure our medications are available to us when we need them and also inaccessible to children.

Although safety is most often what comes to mind when we think of our medications, the reality is that you should also make it difficult for someone who might want to steal your medications to do so. No one wants to think a family member or friend would do this, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Here are five basic guidelines for safe storage of your medications:

(1) Follow temperature guidelines: Refrigerate medications as directed. Otherwise, store medications in a dry, cool place. Bathrooms are not usually a good option because they tend to be humid.

(2) Consider purchasing a lock box: Using a lock box will keep your medications safely out of reach of children (whether you live with them or simply have periodic child visitors) and safe from people who might be tempted to steal your meds. (A Google search for "medication lock box will turn up lots of affordable options.)

(3) Check expiration dates: Safely dispose of any over the counter or prescription medications that have passed their expiration dates so you or a family member doesn't inadvertently use something that has already expired. If a medication's appearance, smell or taste has changed, get rid of it.

(4) Keep original packaging: Whenever possible, it is best to keep your medication in its original pharmacy packaging. This packaging has important information about how and when to take the medication and who is it for that you want to be able to access at any time.

(5) Keep medications belonging to different family members separate: To prevent someone accidentally taking another family member's medications, keep them apart. A separate lock box for each household member is a convenient, safe way to do this.

For information about safe disposal of medications, please read: Safe Disposal of Medication.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.