Quick Post: Storing medications

Question: what medications should we store, right now, for a grid-down scenario?

Answer: at a minimum, you will need to store the medications you use right now; the list of other medications is too complex for a Quick Post and has been added to our to-do list.

How long can I store them?

See this article: http://www.drugs.com/article/drug-expiration-dates.html

Based on this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16721796

(I have requested the PDF for the study, they tell me it should be here soon.)

When one Googles the Shelf Life Extension Program (hereafter SLEP) and tries to log into the actual database, you get this big warning about monitored, classified, DoD property, and how it is illegal for civilians to view the data. I decided not to give .gov any more reasons to investigate me.

You will need to look at your medications vs those mentioned in the first article and see if there is any overlap.  Also, if you are on a mission-critical medication that also has a very narrow therapeutic index, common sense dictates you have new stuff.

Getting a 3 month supply is something most insurance companies encourage. It may also save you money.  Walmart has a list of generics they will fill for $10 for 3 months; as does Walgreens, Target, CVS, and I presume others.

BlueMudPatriot astutely comments:

“BUT there is a VERY LEGIT reason they pulled most of the results in SLEP.
WAY too many folks will assume that their storage is close enough to the storage in SLEP to plan on those numbers. And they will be critically wrong.
SLEP is a HEAVILY CONTROLLED TEMP/Humidity storage program and your average prepper or survivalist figures his back room or basement is equivalent and it really isn’t.”

This is true; even I don’t have a tightly controlled temp/humidity storage facility (other than the gun safe, perhaps).  In a true grid-down scenario, you may not have much choice.

They also note that once you have opened the medications, all bets are off–the extended storage times are for unopened meds only.


5 responses to “Quick Post: Storing medications

  1. So should we throw out penicillin, amoxicillin, cipro ABs that have been stored in sealed bottles since 2010 or go ahead and keep them around, just in case? How about pain meds like Vicodin?


  2. I take Synthroid. I had thyroid cancer when I was 18. I have a backup stash of medicine, and I rotate into it every time I get a refill.

    I do wish there was some sort of “natural” thing I could take to replace it, at least temporarily, but apparently there isn’t.

    So, if the world ever goes “Pear Shaped”, I’m already on borrowed time.
    This site has a lot of potential, I look forward to learning much more.


    • There is, in fact. I don’t have time for the complete reply, as I am on service in the ICU. Despite being busy, I couldn’t let this one go. Please see here for the general topic and to get you started; Google what you will once you read that.
      To make this work in a grid down scenario, you would almost certainly need to live near someplace that runs through pigs at a fast clip, such as a pig farm or slaughterhouse. May not make the best neighbors, but you would be alive to complain about the smell.


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