You know those little pamphlets that come in your birth control pills? Chances are you’ve never taken the time to read all that small print, but if you had, you’d know that storing your pills the wrong way can make them less effective. Pretty scary, right?
Well, most meds should be stored in a dry place at room temperature, somewhere around 68 to 77 degrees. If drugs are exposed to temperatures much hotter or colder than that range, they can lose potency. And it turns out, hormone or protein-based drugs, like oral contraceptives, can be particularly affected by not storing them at the right temp.
Here’s what to avoid, according to Dr. Margaret Long, an OB-GYn at the Mayo Clinic.
- In the bathroom - Keeping your pills in here is a double no-no because of the humidity, which can break down the drug, and the heat from the shower. So skip the medicine cabinet; linen closets or kitchen cabinets are safer for your meds.
- On a plane - Keep your pills in your carry on because things can get a lot colder in the baggage compartment than they do in the cabin and that can make the pills less effective. So don’t take a chance with your birth control.
- In your car - It depends for how long and how hot it is, but don’t leave them on the dashboard baking in the sun.
- Running errands - If your pills live in your purse and you’re running around all day tackling your endless to-do list, you’re better off leaving your pills at home while you’re on the go.
And if you’re ever worried your pills could be compromised, call your doc for a replacement or be sure to use a backup birth control method, just in case.