I seem to have quite the stash of maintenance inhalers. I don’t always remember to take it, as I have noted many times here, and those missed doses seem to add up quickly. And I think the refill schedule at my pharmacy has changed throughout the year and my auto-fills are submitted earlier and earlier.
I think I have 5 or 6 extra inhalers. And it’s not just inhalers that I have a stash of, I have a couple of months supply of some bottles of medications and an enormous stash of glucometer test strips because I don’t use them every day like I used to now that I have a continuous glucose monitor.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a stash of 1 or 2 medications as well. So here are my tips and tricks on storage and usage of this overstock.
Follow instructions for storage
Most medications have storage instructions, usually with a temperature range and a humidity recommendation...you know, the "cool, dry place." If you are going to be using this overstock eventually, it’s important to store the medication properly so that it maintains its potency over time.
Pay attention to expiration dates
Along the same lines, the order in which you store things is equally important. When I am putting away my back-stock I always pay close attention to the expiration date, putting the things that expire first at the front of the line and those that expire last at the back of the line.
It’s tempting to put whatever you have gotten most recently at the back of the stack, but always be sure to double-check the expiration date as the lot the pharmacy dispenses can change. The expiration dates are not always distributed in chronological order.
This might be obvious, but I’ll put it in here anyway, be sure to check the expiration date before opening a new container as the date may have passed in the time it’s taken you to get through your stock.
I don’t mind having a stash of some of my medications. You never know when there might be a shortage or some kind of disaster that might limit or halt the distribution of medications for an unknown amount of time.
I will be prepping my winter disaster supplies soon and will add some of this overstock to my kit. I plan to put the medications with the furthest expiration date in my kit so I don’t have to be so worried about it expiring before it gets used.
But with that in mind, I will check my emergency supplies frequently and rotate my stock so the medications do not expire. The last thing I want is to be in an emergency situation only to find that all of my medications have expired.
What can I do if I don't want to have extra asthma medication at home?
If you are not comfortable having a back stock of medications, you can always get in touch with your pharmacy and have them put a hold on the prescription until you can work through what you already have. Just do not forget to resubmit your refill before you run out!
I know there are some clinics in my area that will take excess medications to be distributed to patients who are in need or cannot afford the medications. If this is something you are interested in doing with your overstock, be sure to call around to clinics in your area and see if and what they are accepting.
If you find that you have medications that have already expired, some pharmacies have a disposal service. My country also has a “drug take-back” program and accept medications to be disposed of a couple of time throughout the year.
Do you have a supply of extra asthma medications? I am curious to know if I’m the only one. Let me know down in the comments!
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