How to store medicines?

How to store medicines?

Medicine packages contain many kinds of markings. One of the most important of the markings relate to storage. The aim of storage instructions is to ensure that the medicines will remain effective and safe and retain their quality for the entire shelf-life.

Storing medicines

Storage instructions are provided in the summary of product characteristics, the package leaflet and also in the package if special storage conditions are required. Medicines are usually stored in room temperature, but some medicines must be stored in a fridge. However, some medicines that are stored in room temperature may be sensitive to light, so the best place for the medicine is your own medicine cabinet or shelf where the temperature is suitable (below 25 degrees Celsius) and the package will not be exposed to sunlight or humidity. Bathroom is therefore not an appropriate place for a medicine cabinet.

The storage instructions and dates are based on studies. Medicines that have been stored in accordance with the instructions are safe to use. Too low or high temperature, light or excessive humidity may decrease or increase the efficacy of the medicine.

That means that medicines may expire before the expiry date if they are not stored properly. Especially when travelling, it is advisable to pay special attention to the transport temperatures. Be sure to pack your medicines in hand luggage to make temperature monitoring easier. You can find travel tips in the health guide for travellers (in Finnish).

Expired medicines are unpredictable

An expired medicine may look normal, but in many cases the efficacy of the medicine weakens. With some medicines, the opposite may be the case, i.e. the efficacy of the medicine may increase. In the worst case, this may cause hazardous situations, such as poisoning.

The efficacy of a medicine cannot be determined by looking at it or smelling it. For this reason, it is important to use medicines whose expiry date has not yet passed and that have been stored in accordance with the package instructions. Any expired medicines must be properly disposed of. Read more: How should medicines be disposed of