Medication Rotation

Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents. - Peter Mere Latham

Storage and Rotation of Medications

Because of the cost and difficulties in obtaining medications, some folks may be reluctant to rotate them out of there medical supplys properly. Medications have a limited shelf life. Using expired medications is a decision which should only be made after consulting your physician. The majority of medications are safe for at least 12 months following their expiration date. The main problem with expired medicines is that they lose potency, and the manufacturer will no longer guarantee the dose/response effects of the drug.

There are important exceptions to this rule the tetracycline group of antibiotics can become toxic with time, there are others.

It is strongly recommended to consulting your physician about using any expired medications.

If you are acquiring medications on a doctor's prescription you should explain the medications are for storage, and request recently manufactured stock with distant expiration dates. You might also ask the pharmacist for some of the small packages of desiccant that is included in many bulk drug containers. These can provide an extra measure of insurance for your own supply. You should always include with the medications comprehensive instructions for its use.

The ideal storage conditions for most medications is in a cool, dark, dry environment. These conditions will optimize the shelf life of the drugs. A small number of drugs require refrigeration to avoid loss of potency. These include insulin, ergometrine, oxytocin and some muscle relaxants. Others such as Diazepam rapidly lose potency if exposed to the light.