Medication Safety, Storage, Handling & Disposal

With any medication you are prescribed, it’s important to understand the proper way to take the medication and how to store, handle or dispose of any medication that you are no longer using.

Understanding the drug label

Many pharmacies will provide large print labels and instructions for people with impaired or low vision, that typically can be requested in English or Spanish. In addition, some pharmacies also offer talking prescription labels, as well as labels in Braille. You may also want to ask your pharmacist if your medication is available in an easy to open package or container, understanding that if you choose this option, the prescription must be stored properly, away from a child’s reach and sight.

Storage & Handling

  • Keep medication put away and out of a child’s reach and sight.
  • Every time you use medication, put it away. This includes prescription medication and over the counter medicines, vitamins and other supplements that you take.
  • Use safety caps, and make sure they are locked.
  • Educate children about medicine safety.
  • Ask your guests to keep their medications put up and away from a child’s reach and site.
  • Read package inserts or information provided by your pharmacy to understand when and how to take the medication, and about any special storage directions.
  • Store medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Keep medications in a cool, dry area, or as directed.
  • Never take expired medication.
  • Never take medication that is prescribed for somebody else, or share your medication.
  • Keep Poison Prevention’s information handy and program their number in your phone. 800-222-1222.

Cancer Patients

If you are prescribed an oral chemotherapy, you will receive specific instructions on the safe storage, handling and disposal of the chemotherapy. Most of these medications should be stored at room temperature, away from heat, sunlight and moisture. Some may need to be refrigerated or require special storage or handling. It is recommended that you store this medication away from medication used by other family members. Please ask your care team or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use, store or handle the medication prescribed to you in our office.

Disposal

Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice - Drug Enforcement Agency has a “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day”. You can check their website for dates and collection sites:

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html

Several locations throughout Pima County have safe disposal sites that are open throughout the year. Learn more at:

http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=135359

You can also learn more about the correct way to dispose of medications and needles at the City of Tucson’s website:

https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/medication-disposal

Outside of Pima County, you can contact your local law enforcement agency to see if medication disposal is available at their precinct, or ask your local pharmacist if his/her company has a drug take back program.

Flyers courtesy of: Tucson Water, City of Tucson and the Pima County Health Department: