How should I store my medications?

  • Unless given other storage instructions, store medications in a dry area away from heat and direct light. Do not store tablets and capsules in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Do not leave your medication in your car for a long period of time.
  • Do not store medications in the refrigerator unless directed to do so.
  • Always keep medications out of the reach of children and pets.
  • If you store your medications in a pill organizer, label it with the medication name, dose, frequency, and expiration date.
  • Keep your medication tightly capped in its original container when not in use.
  • Do not keep medications that are outdated or no longer needed. Ask your pharmacist how to properly dispose of old or unused medications.

When should I reorder my medications?

Refill your prescription while you still have a 5- to 7-day supply left. Some sources, such as mail order pharmacies, have a longer lead-time for refills. Also, use one pharmacy if possible.

How do I travel with my medications?

Keep your medications in their original containers in your carry-on luggage when you travel. Do not pack your medications in checked luggage in case your suitcase is lost. Take extra medication with you when you travel in case your flight is delayed and you need to stay away longer than planned.

What should I do if I can’t afford my medication?

  • Do not decrease your medication dosage to save money. You must take the prescribed amount to get the full benefits. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about ways you can reduce the costs of your medications.
  • Do not share your medication with others or take someone else’s prescription.
  • Check prescription assistance programs. These programs help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get free or low-cost medicines through the public or private program that's right for them. For more information, see

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/19/2014.


  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe. (with wallet card) ( Accessed 3/12/2014.
  • National Institute on Aging. Taking Medicines ( Accessed 3/12/2014.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medication Safety Program ( Accessed 3/12/2014.
  • Institute for Safe Medication Practices ( Accessed 3/12/2014.
  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( Accessed 3/12/2014.

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