Proper Locations in Your Home For Drug Storage
Proper Locations in Your Home For Drug Storage / FLS9
Where do you keep your medicine? Preferably, not in the medicine cabinet in a bathroom! Surprisingly, the medicine cabinet in a steamy, moist bathroom is the worst place to keep any medicine—prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). The heat and moisture in a bathroom can make medicines weaker. Medicines should be kept in the kitchen or in another room free of moisture, in a high, secure cabinet protected from sunlight and heat.
Remember to keep prescription and OTC medicines away from children. It's safest to add child-resistant locks to the cabinets where medicines are stored, as children can climb on chairs and counters to reach high cabinets. Also, keep all medicines in their original child-resistant containers. That way, you can also see the expiration date of the medicine and instructions for use on the container.
The ideal prerequisite for operating a drug store should include storage facilities such as refrigerator, cupboards amongst others (Table 2). For some drugs like insulin that require storage temperature of less than or equal to 25°C, its stability may be affected in the care of 80% of patent medicine store dealers, since the environment of the drug will be modified by changes in these inimical storage conditions (Kenneth et al., 1986).
They are probably not aware that insulin is a protein drug that is thermolabile. The implication is that such drugs when advertently purchased would have lost their potency; the hypoglycaemic property would have been compromised.
Some people indicated that they store or keep their drugs on the dinning table, top of the refrigerator, first aid boxes, in their bags, in the car, in the kitchen and even the bathroom (Figure 1). Whatever the reason they have for such actions may not defy the high vulnerability of such drugs to degradation. On the other hand, this could also point to lack of advice on proper drug storage from the dispenser and this point was indicated by 56% of respondents. For most liquid preparations label instruction or dispensers advice should encourage disposal of opened bottles after 2 weeks of use except when stored in the refrigerator. It is a common practice for improperly educated mothers to keep using their unrefrigerated liquid preparations for several weeks. Since most of them contain sugar, and because aqueous sugar media greatly encourage the growth of microorganisms and hydrolysis of drugs, they should be refrigerated when opened. Storage of such medications in the bathroom, kitchen, etc… will surely predispose them to degradation. From the results, although 90% knew that drugs could spoil yet some of them still ignorantly or deliberately store in these wrong places. At higher moisture levels ascorbic acid tablets suffer potency reduction; but at room temperature
and relative humidity of 35-65%, their claimed levels have been reportedly maintained for 5 years (Swarbrick and Boylan, 2002). The presence of environmental moisture increases the susceptibility of drugs with the ester, amide or lactam groups to hydrolysis (Florence and Attwood, 1981) Ibuprofen has a low melting point of about 75°C (BP, 2004). Thus in a heated kitchen or car environment its tablet dosage form could be liable to thermal degradation.
Some of the patent medicine shop dealers indicated that they have witnessed storing of drugs in their shops that sometimes induce high temperature due to sunlight. Against this backdrop, most pharmaceutical products are required by their manufacturers to be protected from light and heat. This is to ensure drug safety and maintenance of its integrity throughout its shelf life. In a certain study (Richard et al., 2005) formoterol capsules heated to 40-70°C revealed gross distortion, evidence of clumping of formoterol and thereby a decreased drug delivery. It was therefore concluded that exposure of this drug to heat decreases its delivery and that care should be taken when mailing, transporting or storing formoterol.
Ascorbic acid is very unstable in aqueous solutions, but its shelf-life can be prolonged, by controlling variables such as temperature, oxygen and light (Swarbrick andBoylan, 2002). Cannabis has also been reported to suffer serious deleterious effect in the presence of light (Fairn et al., 2005; Narayanaswami, 1978).
Before a pharmacy shop is approved for registration,the shop must meet minimum standards, which of course exclude stores built with zinc or iron walls. These metallic materials which are good conductors would very easily absorb heat from the sun and raise the temperature of the drug shop. Some of the patent medicine shops were constructed with zinc materials and this is disturbing because, from the research, 54% admitted that they buy their drugs from these unfit outlets. The control of storage conditions of drugs is very crucial.
Sometimes some qualitative drugs may have been manufactured according to regulatory standards, yet they may fail post production market sampling quality control tests because of poor storage. Mendie et al. (2005) evaluated some marketed multivitamin preparations for the presence of microbial contamination and found 50% of them microbially contaminated. Their suspicion was that the drugs may not have enjoyed CGMP specifications. Such microbial contamination may have been provoked or induced by poor storage conditions favourable to microbial growth.
Repackaging of drugs into other containers without specific instruction from the manufacturers will portend great danger for drug users. Some of the packaging materials may characteristically either interact with the product constituents or lead to leaching, sorption and permeation which are common with some plastic materials.
Observation shows that 30% of patent medicine store dealers indulge in this act. This should be discouraged as it can conveniently be a good ground for repackaging of expired drugs, which 2% of these patent medicine dealers agreed they do so. Dispensing of drugs in paper envelops is not a wholesome practice. Although drug substances in general are known to be less stable in liquid media than in the solid dosage form, but continual exposure of drugs (e.g. sugar coated tablets) dispensed in paper envelops to moisture may create cracks and consequently lead to loss or damaging of the coatings. Also, the presence of moisture can predispose to microbial contamination of the solid dosage form.
Although 72% of patent medicine drug dealers use manufacturer’s spoon, 2% shakes drugs out of their containers during dispensing, and this shaking can bring about drug breakage and friability problems.
Sometimes, it is also possible for them to attempt using their hands. This temptation of using hand, paper or any other material may not also be uncommon with the 34% that dispense with any kind of available spoon Education through seminars and workshops will enlighten these drug dealers and users on issues of drugs.
Some interpreted it as either store at any temperature or in a freezer. Their percentage may be small but the effect of their ignorance can adversely affect hundreds. In fact, it has been said that if a physician’s medical error could terminate a life, then a singular error from the drug manufacturer or dealer can most certainly lead to the loss of many lives.
Active media awareness and seminars should be created to educate drug users on the dangers of poor drug storage. Pharmacovigilance centres can take up this as an added responsibility. Regulatory bodies that issue licenses to patent medicine stores should sit up to their responsibility by going round to ensure that premises meet up with regulatory requirements. Market sampling of drugs should be carried out in patent medicine stores for quality control assessment to ascertain their potencies or presence of degradation.
We conclude that storage practices by patent medicine stores and homes were found to be poor when compared to hospitals. Although there were some observed insignificant cases of satisfactory storage practice amongst patent medicine stores and homes, nevertheless the evidently generally poor storage practice weighed higher because of their potential untoward chain effects on drug consumers.
Correctly storing prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medication is important for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason, of course, is to keep them out of the reach of children. But there are potentially other hazards as well.
Improperly stored prescription and OTC medication may lose their effectiveness through exposure to light, moisture, heat or inappropriate temperatures. This may result in a loss of potency, reducing your medications ability to help you which may lead to further health problems. In the worst cases, improperly stored medication may lose it's effectiveness entirely, which makes taking it pointless and may place your health at further risk.
There are a number of things that you need to think about when storing your prescription drugs and other medications and we have listed some of them below. You should always check the packaging of your medication to ensure that you know how to store it correctly.
If after checking the packaging you are still unsure how to best store your medication, you should ask your doctor or the dispensing pharmacy for their advice.
Some of the things to think about when storing your medication are described below.
Keep Out Of Reach Of Children.
Okay, it's a no-brainer. We all know that you must ensure that all of your prescription drugs are kept out of the reach of children. But there are potentially other medications or supplements in your home which may also pose a threat to children.
For example, commonly used OTC medications such as pain relievers or 'cold and flu tablets' which may be perfectly safe for adults to use may pose a serious threat to a child's health if used or taken inappropriately. Similarly, iron tablets or health supplements containing iron are common in many homes but they are amongst the most common causes of poisoning in children.
For safety's sake, keep all of your prescription drugs, OTC medication, vitamins and health supplements away from children.
Misuse of Medication.
If you or someone in your care are taking prescription drugs and you observe that there is either more or less of the medication in the medicine chest than you had expected, further investigation is needed.
If you are correct, it may indicate that the wrong dosages of medication have been taken, the medication has been taken at the wrong time or it has been taken with the wrong frequency or by the wrong person. Potentially, all of these things may have occurred.
If you believe that you have taken your medication incorrectly, it is important that you discuss your concerns with your doctor. Similarly, if you believe that a person in your care or a family member . is taking their medication incorrectly, you should discuss your concerns with them and encourage them to discuss the issue with their doctor.
Intentional misuse of prescription drugs and OTC medication is a growing problem world wide and it can have devastating consequences. A home medicine cabinet can often be a treasure trove for someone abusing prescription drugs. Recognizing a sudden, unexpected change in the quantity of prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet may be an early indicator that prescription drug abuse is occurring in your home.
You should therefore ensure that you keep track of all the prescription and other medication being used in your home, especially where children and other people in your care may have access to it.
Some Tips On Safe Storage
The following tips are some of the things you should consider when storing your prescription drugs and OTC medication. As a general rule, you should keep your prescription drugs, OTC medication and health supplements out of the reach of children, in a cool, dry place, away from the light and preferably in it's original packaging.
As noted above, you should always check the packaging of your prescription drugs and other medication and any information provided with them for storage instructions. If you are still unsure how to best store you medication, ask your doctor or the dispensing pharmacist for their advice.
The Bathroom Medicine Cabinet.
In many homes, prescription drugs are stored in the bathroom medicine cabinet. But the heat, moisture and humidity which is generated in the bathroom every day means that the bathroom medicine cabinet in many homes resembles the inside of a tropical rainforest - not the best place to keep your medication!
Heat, moisture and light can all affect prescription drugs, especially if they are in an improperly sealed container. You should therefore store your medication in a cool, dry place away from the light and out of reach of children. The bathroom is not the best place to store your medication.
Some prescription drugs or other medication need to be stored in the refrigerator. If this is the case, ensure that they are kept away from other items. One way to do this is to place your medication bottles or packages inside another, larger container. By doing this, you will be able to find and retrieve all of your medication quickly and if a bottle or package breaks or leaks, the risk of your medication mixing with other items in the fridge is greatly reduced.
If you are storing prescription drugs or other medication in your refrigerator, you should place them as high up in the fridge as possible, to prevent accidental use by children who may either open the fridge by themselves or take them out of the fridge while you are not looking.
Remember, if you are storing prescription drugs or other medication in your refrigerator, you must ensure that they do not come into contact with other items.
Keep Prescription Drugs In Their Original Packaging.
As a general rule, you should always keep your medication in it's original packaging, as it contains important information about what the medication is, how it is to be taken and who it is for.
In some cases though, managing medication is made easier by placing it in alternative containers. Some people find it difficult to open or manipulate the original packaging. Others, especially those taking a number of different medications, may find it easier to manage their medication if it is set out for them in special containers, allowing them to take the right medication, at the right time, in the right quantities.
If you believe that you or a person under your care would benefit from storing medication in alternative containers or in a way which makes managing medication easier, ask your doctor for advice on the best way to do this.
File No：Home drug storage- FLS9
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