How to Store Your ADHD Meds: 9 Expert Tips


how to store your adhd medsHow do you store your ADHD meds?

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Several factors or elements such as heat, light, air, and moisture could tamper with the structural integrity of your ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medicines or cause damage to them. Therefore, your ADHD drugs should be stored responsibly and with care so that their efficacy is not compromised with, and they stay safe for continual use.

Related: How To Tell If Your Adderall Prescription Is Too High

So, how do you store your ADHD meds? The following are nine expert tips to store your ADHD meds safely and responsibly:

  1. Keep them in their bottle.
  2. Store them in a cool place.
  3. Don’t store medicines in your bathroom.
  4. Take the cotton ball out.
  5. Do not refrigerate.
  6. Use a pill organizer.
  7. Use medicine baskets.
  8. Seek storage instructions from a pharmacist.
  9. Keep your medicines out of reach of kids/pets.

If you’d like to learn how these storage methods work, how you should be storing your medicines while traveling, and how to store your ADHD drugs for an emergency, keep reading. 

1. Keep the Original Container 

If your ADHD medicines came in a container (quite a few are sold as strips), keep them in their respective bottles. 

As enticing as it could be to move the pills to a small container from the large bottles for practicality and ease of use, refrain from doing so – even if the other bottle bears a prescription label identical to the original bottle. Also, make sure you close the cap of the container tightly after you’ve popped the required pills out. 

2. Store Them in a Dry, Cool Place

Store your ADHD medicines in drawers, storage box, in a closet, on a shelf, etc. In other words, store your ADHD drugs in a cool and dry place. You can even store them in your kitchen cabinet, provided there is no sink, stove, or other hot appliances in the vicinity. 

But since kitchens are likely to be warmer than other rooms in the house, it’s highly advised you refrain from storing medicines in your kitchen, even when the above conditions are met. Head to your kitchen cabinets only if you’re running out of storage space in other areas of the house. 

3. Do Not Store Your Medicines in Your Bathroom 

Make sure your medicines are not exposed to moisture. In other words, do not store them in your bathroom cabinet. 

Several people diagnosed with ADHD and even people on other prescribed drugs are guilty of storing their medicines in bathroom cabinets. When closed, a bathroom cabinet turns dark, which is the ideal environment for your prescribed drugs. And that is what makes people believe a bathroom cabinet is a good medicine stowing space. 

However, bathroom air has increased humidity levels. This humidity can seep into the cabinets and cause your drugs to break down. Turning the hot water on in your sink could also cause moisture to make its way into your cabinet. 

Medicines and moisture are not best friends. In fact, it’s the moisture inside your stomach that helps break down your medication after ingestion. You just don’t want that break-down to happen outside your body. 

Also, bathrooms are not just damp and moisture-laden; they also let sunlight in during the day. Any exposure to heat and moisture could cause your ADHD drugs to lose their potency or make them go bad prior to their expiration date. Though the light from the sun may not penetrate the closed bathroom cabinets, it would certainly warm them up from the outside. 

4. Take the Cotton Ball Out

If your ADHD medicine bottle came with a cotton ball, take the piece of cotton out since you don’t need it anymore. Most importantly, if it stays there, it could damage your medicines as it attracts moisture. The cotton pad is in place to ensure that tablets do not get bashed around in the container during packaging or shipping. Once the bottle has been shipped, it has done its job and need not stay in anymore.

5. Do Not Refrigerate Your Drugs

Do not store your ADHD medicines in the fridge. Medicines that usually require refrigeration are insulins, injections, antibiotic liquids, eye drops, and certain creams. ADHD medicines are primarily available as tablets and capsules, which do not require refrigeration. A refrigerator is a cool place, which is the kind of environment your ADHD drugs need. 

But the fridge is also moist and can be easily accessed by kids, which explains why refrigerating medicines is advised against strictly. However, to be sure and on the safer side of things, read the storage instructions on the product label. If the storage directives on the bottle or your pharmacist categorically state that your ADHD medicines should be refrigerated after being opened, then do so. 

6. Use a Pill Organizer 

If you’ve been prescribed a range of medicines for your ADHD – with different dosage levels and frequencies – consider storing them in a Dosette box or a pill organizer. Label the box with the name of the medicine, expiration date, frequency, and dose, so you know which medicines to take when and in what compositions. If you’d like to buy a pill organizer, this colorful pillbox by Inspiration Industry NY is worth consideration. 

7. Use Baskets and Label Them 

Use baskets if you are on ADHD drugs and also take other medicines or supplements on the side. The baskets will also help if there are other members in the house taking medicines of their own. A mix-up of drugs is the last thing you want to happen. Label the baskets so that you don’t have to remember which basket is yours. 

And if you’re using multiple baskets for your drugs alone, then the labels will save you the effort to remember which basket holds what drug. Kindly note these baskets are easily available and also fairly inexpensive. Therefore, procuring a few if you already don’t have them in the house should be pretty easy. 

If you’re looking for recommendations, these woven basket bins by Sorbus are a solid choice. If you’d like baskets that are a bit more see-through, then these stackable plastic storage baskets by Doryh would fit the bill. If you fancy transparent baskets, then these clear modular storage baskets by IRIS USA, Inc. are almost ideal. 

The products recommended above come in as bundles. If you have a massive assortment of medicines to stow, the multiple baskets will certainly help. Even if your medicine storage requirements are minimal or you can make do with a basket or two, the baskets mentioned above are versatile enough to be used for other purposes. 

8. Ask Your Pharmacist for Specific Storage Instructions

Your pharmacist should know more than a thing or two about storing certain ADHD medication. If your ADHD medication bottle doesn’t bear any storage instructions, get talking with your retailer. Your pharmacist can also help you responsibly discard unused or old medicines.   

9. Keep Your Medicines Away From Kids and Pets

Your kids and pets should not be able to directly access your medicines since there is the risk of accidental drug damage or ingestion. Even if the medicines are for your kid, they should be able to access and administer the drugs only when you’re around. If you are storing ADHD drugs in a cabinet, even if it’s far-flung, make sure you lock it properly since kids could do anything they possibly can to get hold of the medicines. 

Why would your kids be interested in your ADHD drugs? Most kids don’t know what your medicines are for and also are not familiar with the bitter taste of these medicines. But since these ADHD drugs are colorful and look more like candies, they seem to attract kids or feed their curiosity. You must, therefore, put in the effort to steer clear your kids from your medicines. 

If required, look for containers that are childproof, or bottles that kids cannot easily open. To check the same, you can try opening the container yourself. If it takes you considerable effort to twist and turn the bottle or pry it open, then your kids would most certainly not be able to open the bottle. 

How to Store Your ADHD Medicines for Emergencies? 

Besides proper ways to store your medicine, you should also consider the purpose of storage. For instance, you may have to store your ADHD drug in your disaster kit. Since you never know when Mother Nature spells havoc, it’s imperative your disaster kit has your ADHD medicine supply for at least three days. You can stow your medicines in the kit for up to 30 days. 

If you have to evacuate, due to fire, it could take some time to settle down in the new place and create an association with another ADHD specialist. Before prescribing medicines to you, the doctor would want to check and confirm your medical history, particularly if your ADHD causes you to exhibit vigorous symptoms. By the time the new doctor studies your case and ascertains things, your emergency supply would keep you sane. 

Also, talk to your existing doctor about your plans to store your medicines for emergency scenarios. The doctor may then prescribe you medicines accordingly. If your ADHD medicines are relatively expensive, ask your doctor to prescribe you generic substitutes that you could use during exigency scenarios or when you’ve run out of your primary medicine stock. 

Storing Medicines When Traveling 

There are a host of other ADHD medication storage considerations to look into when you’re on the road. 

Carry Them in Their Original Containers

When traveling, make sure your ADHD pills remain in their respective containers. If they don’t have containers of their own, procure one that can be tightly sealed and put your medicines in the bottle. If you are carrying a range of medication, put them in different containers, and have them properly labeled. Preferably, the containers should keep out light. 

If the period of travel is scheduled to be long, place silica gel packs in the medicine vials. The silica packets work as a desiccant. In other words, they reduce spoilage by preventing mold growth inside the bottle. Also, carry extra medicines so that you don’t have to go through the trouble of buying medicines in a random place that you are not familiar with. 

Don’t Use the Glove Compartment 

If traveling by road, your car’s glove compartment isn’t an ideal place to store your ADHD medicines. Your medicines could get easily damaged in the glove area, thanks to the heat, cold, and even moistness seeping into the space (if it’s raining outside). Not to mention, your car’s air conditioner or heater could also render the space not ideal for storing your medicines. 

Use a Cooler 

The silica pack cannot keep your medicines safe and unadulterated all by itself. You must also keep a chilled thermos or cooler handy so that your medicines stay cool throughout the journey. Once you reach your destination, you may shift the medicines to a much more optimal location. Before you throw your ADHD medicines in the cooler, make sure they absolutely need refrigeration. 

Keep Your Medicines Handy Always 

If traveling by air, don’t carry your medicines in suitcases since you would mostly not have access to your luggage when you fly. 

Carry them in your handbag or carry-on luggage instead. Another reason why your medicines shouldn’t be in your checked luggage is the cargo compartments could be too cold or hot during flight for your medicines. If you don’t have carry-on luggage, take a look at the American Tourister Moonlight

Carry Your Prescription Copy 

Always carry your prescription copy when traveling abroad so that you don’t have to face issues at borders. Also, if the medicines are in their original containers, it would be easy to explain to airport security personnel what those medicines actually are. 

Keep all your ADHD medicine bottles with their original labels in a plastic bag so that you can easily and quickly declare them. 

Pill Dispensers Are Not Ideal When Travelling 

A pill dispenser certainly helps ration out your dosages. However, they are of no use or would rather create confusion if you carry them on your trip, leaving the original containers behind. In other words, if you happen to be in an emergency, a pill dispenser would not help you identify the medicines you need to administer at that critical moment. 

When to Dispose of Your ADHD Drugs 

The following are scenarios in which you should get rid of your ADHD medicines: 

  • If they happen to cross their date of expiration – even if they look perfectly usable.
  • If your doctor has instructed you to not take them anymore.
  • If the pill container’s label has come off or the print on it is not legible anymore. This is usually the case if you don’t remember what the medicine or what its dosage frequency is.

Signs Your ADHD Medicines Have Gone Bad 

If you did not adhere to proper storage instructions, your ADHD medicine could get damaged or would no longer be safe to administer even if it’s well within its date of expiration. The following are some visual cues your ADHD medicines have turned rancid:

  • A change in color or emanating a strange smell
  • A texture that is softer or harder than usual
  • Cracks or chips in the tablet
  • Pills sticking together

Kindly note your ADHD medicines would not last forever, even if you store them in ideal conditions. Therefore, update your medicine supply once a year or two.

How to Safely and Responsibly Discard Expired ADHD Drugs 

When your ADHD drugs have expired or have disintegrated, it’s imperative you dispose of them properly. 

  • If they came in a container, take the medicines out of the bottle and throw the drugs in the trash.
  • If throwing them in the bin, make sure you mix them with kitty litter, coffee grounds, or any other trash that could ruin or render the medicines completely unusable. Put the mixture in a sealed bag or empty can before you throw them out.
  • If you are throwing the bottle away too, make sure you thoroughly scratch the label so that the letterings are not legible.
  • You may even take your unused, damaged, or expired ADHD medicines to your pharmacist. There are also sites or programs that take back drugs.  
  • If you can’t take the medicines to a take-back location or there is no such site near you, you can flush those drugs down the toilet.

Kindly note the flushing-down-the-toilet method should be your last resort. Also, if the instructions on the label clearly state that you shouldn’t give it the toilet treatment, then you must not.

Conclusion 

Different ADHD medications could have unique storage requirements. Some could be stored at room temperature, while others may require refrigeration or even freezing. Most ADHD medicines can be safely stowed at room temperature – 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F). If your ADHD drug is in the liquid form, you must store it at room temperature. 

Regardless, never assume your ADHD medication’s storage requirements. Always look for storage instructions on the label. If there are no implicit directions, seek clarity from your pharmacist. Since proper storage is critical to your ADHD drug’s efficacy and safety, make sure you are absolutely sure about their storage needs. 

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