St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Storing your medicines

    Where you store your medicine can affect how well it works. Learn about storing your medicine to keep it from getting damaged.

    Store Medicines Safely

    Take care of your medicine.

    • Know that heat, air, light, and moisture may damage your medicine.
    • Store your medicines in a cool, dry place. For example, store in your dresser drawer or a kitchen cabinet away from the stove, sink, and any hot appliances. You can also store them in a storage box on a shelf in a closet.
    • If you are like most people, you probably store your medicine in a bathroom cabinet. Unfortunately, the heat and moisture from your shower, bath, and sink may damage your medicine. Your medicines can become less potent, or they may go bad before the expiration date.
    • Pills and capsules are easily damaged by heat and moisture. Aspirin pills break down into vinegar and salicylic acid. This irritates the stomach.
    • Always keep medicine in their original container.
    • Take the cotton ball out of the medicine bottle. The cotton ball pulls moisture into the bottle.
    • Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.

    Keep children safe.

    • Always store your medicine out of reach and out of sight.
    • Store your medicine in a cabinet with child latch or lock.

    Do Not Take Damaged Medicine

    It could make you sick. Do not take:

    • Medicine that has changed color, texture, or smell, even if it has not expired.
    • Do not take pills that stick together, are harder or softer than normal, or are cracked or chipped.

    Get Rid of Old Medicines

    • Check the expiration date on your medicine. Throw out medicines that are out of date.
    • Do not keep old or unused medicine around. It goes bad and you should not use it.

    Get rid of unused medicine safely and promptly.

    • Do not flush your medicine down the toilet. This is bad for the water supply.
    • You can throw away medicine in the trash. First, mix your medicine with something that ruins it. You can mix with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put it all in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Or bring unused medicines to your pharmacist.
    • Use community "drug give back" programs if they are available.
    • See this website made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more information: How to dispose of unused medications.

    Traveling with Medicine

    Do not keep medicine in the glove compartment in the car. Medicine can get too hot, cold, and wet there.

    If you are going on an airplane, keep your medicine in your carry on luggage. To help with security at the airport:

    • Keep medicine in the original bottles
    • Ask your doctor for a copy of all your prescriptions. You need this in case you lose, run out, or damage your medicine.
    • If you have diabetes, ask your doctor for a letter that tells that you have diabetes and a list of all your supplies. You are allowed to carry your medicine, blood glucose meter, and lancet device on the plane.

    When to Call the Doctor

    • Call your doctor for new prescriptions before you throw out your old medicine.
    • Call your doctor for a letter describing your condition, medicines, and supplies.


    U.S. Food and Drug Administration. How to dispose of unused medications. Updated February 16, 2012. Accessed June 12, 2012.


          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

              Review Date: 6/12/2012

              Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs

              Brain & Spine
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile