In-Home Drug Storage by Older Adults

Lori Suet Hang Lo (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Linda Yin King Lee (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Irene Yuen Fung Wong (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Yuen Yan Lai (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Hoi Tong Au (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Tsz Ying Wong (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Chui Ping Chueng (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Wai Lam Shek (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Choi Yi Wong (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Hoi Lam Chan (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Hon Sze Cheuk (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Nga Hing Mark (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Shu Ching Wong (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Wing Yan Cheung (The Open University of Hong Kong)

Article ID: 2469



Globally, in-home drug-storage compliance is often unsatisfactory, especially among older adults, and can lead to negative health outcomes. This study used a cross-sectional and descriptive design to examine in-home drug-storage compliance among older adults. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 117 older adults in Hong Kong. An in-home drug-storage checklist was used to assess the in-home drug-storage environments (light, temperature, and humidity) and drug-storage methods (drug safety, packaging, information, and expiration) of each older adult. The findings showed that Hong Kong older adults’ overall compliance rate in drug storage was 87.25%, and their compliance rate for drug-storage methods (84.59%) was lower than that for drug-storage environments (97.02%). Older adults who were of advanced age, who were less educated or who lived alone demonstrated lower in-home drug-storage compliance. This indicates the need to revise existing health-education strategies to encourage in-home drug-storage compliance. Healthcare professionals should assess older adults’ drug-storage compliance to identify less compliant subgroups and deliver specific drug-storage support as required. Family members should also be involved in this process.


Drug storage, Compliance, Older adults, Home

Full Text:



[1] Akici, A., Aydin, V., Kiroglu, A. Assessment of the association between drug disposal practices and drug use and storage behaviors. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 2018, 26(1): 7-13.

[2] Asseray, N., Ballereau, F., Trombert-Paviot, B., Bouget, J., Foucher, N., Renaud, B., Schmidt, J. Frequency and severity of adverse drug reactions due to self-medication: A cross-sectional multicentre survey in emergency departments. Drug Safety, 2013, 36(12): 1159-1168. [3] Asti, L., Jones, R., Bridge, J. A. Acetaminophen and expired medication storage in homes with young children. Journal of Clinical Toxicology, 2012, 2(5): 1-4. DOI: 10.4172/2161-0495.1000130

[3] Chung, S., Brooks, B. Identifying household pharmaceutical waste characteristics and population behaviors in one of the most densely populated global cities. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2019, 140: 267-277.

[4] Davis, T. C., Wolf, M. S., Bass, P. F., Middlebrooks, M., Kennen, E., Baker, D. W., Bennett, C.L., Durazo-Arivizu, R., Bocchini, A., Savory, S., Parker, R.M. Low literacy impairs comprehension of prescription drug warning labels. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2006, 21(8): 847-851. DOI: 10.1111%2Fj.1525-1497.2006.00529.x

[5] Dias-Ferreira, C., Valente, S., Vaz, J. Practices of pharmaceutical waste generation and discarding in households across Portugal. Waste Management & Research, 2016, 34(10): 1006-1013.

[6] Dugar, R. P., Gupta, P., Dave, R. H. Effect of relative humidity on acetaminophen tablet properties prepared by different techniques using polyvinylpyrrolidine derivatives as binder. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 2015, 6(11): 4629-4638.

[7] Foroutan, B., Foroutan, R. Household storage of medicines and self-medication practices in south-east Islamic Republic of Iran. EMHJ-Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 2014, 20(9): 547-553.

[8] Gerhart, J. M., Spriggs, H., Hampton, T. W., Hoy, R. M. B., Strochlic, A. Y., Proulx, S., Goetchius, D. B. Applying human factors to develop an improved package design for (Rx) medication drug labels in a pharmacy setting. Journal of Safety Research, 2015, 55: 177-184.

[9] Hospital Authority, Hong Kong. Advice on the storage of medication. Hong Kong: Hospital Authority, 2017. Retrieved from: Eng/Advice_on_the_storage_of_medications.pdf

[10] Hu, J., Wang, Z. In-home antibiotic storage among Australian Chinese migrants. International Journal ofInfectious Diseases, 2014, 26: 103-106.

[11] Huang, Y., Wang, L., Zhong, C., Huang, S. Factors influencing the attention to home storage of medicines in China. BMC Public Health, 2019, 19: 1-10. DOI: 10.1186%2Fs12889-019-7167-5

[12] Kheir, N., Hajj, M. E., Wilbur, K., Kaissi, R., Yousif, A. An exploratory study on medications in Qatar homes. Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety, 2011, 3: 99-106.

[13] Koshok, M.I, Jan, T. K., AL-tawil, S.M., Alghamdi, E.A., Ali, A.AH, Sobh, A.H.M., Abdelrahim, M.E.A., Gamal, M. Awareness of home drug storage and utilization habits: Saudi study. Medicine Science, 2017, 7(1): 73-76.

[14] Krippendorff, K. Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2013.

[15] Kusturica, M. P., Tomas, A., Tomic, Z., Bukumiric, D., Corac, A., Horvat, O., Sabo, A. Analysis of expired medications in Serbian households. Slovenian Journal of Public Health, 2016, 55(3): 195-201.

[16] Jassim, A. M. In-home drug storage and self-medication with antimicrobial drugs in Basrah, Iraq. Oman Medical Journal, 2010, 25(2): 79-87.

[17] John Snow Inc. World Health Organization. Guidelines for the Storage of Essential Medicines and Other Health Commodities. Arlington, Va.: John Snow, Inc./DELIVER, for the U.S. Agency for International Development, 2003.

[18] Lam, T. P., Cheng, Y. H., Chan, Y. L. Low literacy Chinese patients: How are they affected and how do they cope with health matters? A qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 2004, 4(14). DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-4-14

[19] Lee, V. W., Pang, K. K., Hui, K. C., Kwok, J. C., Leung, S. L., Yu, D. S. F., Lee, D. T. F. Medication adherence: Is it a hidden drug - related problem in hidden elderly? Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 2013, 13(4): 978-985.

[20] Maharana, S. P., Paul, B., Dasgupta, A., Garg, S. Storage, reuse, and disposal of unused medications: A cross-sectional study among rural households of Singur, West Bengal. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 2017, 6(7): 1185- 1190.

[21] Martins, R. R., Farias, A. D., Oliveira, Y. M. D. C., Diniz, R. D. S., Oliveira, A. G. Prevalence and risk factors of inadequate medicine home storage: A community-based study. Revista de Saude Publica, 2017, 51: 1-8. DOI: 10.11606/s1518-8787.2017051000053

[22] Ocan, M., Bbosa, G. S., Waako, P., Ogwal-Okeng, J., Obua, C. Factors predicting home storage of medicines in Northern Uganda. BMC Public Health, 2014, 14: 650. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-650

[23] Notenboom, K., Beers, E., Riet - Nales, D., Egberts, T., Leufkens, H., Jansen, P., & Bouvy, M. Practical problems with medication use that older people experience: A qualitative study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2014, 62(12): 2339-2344.

[24] Rutherford-Hemming, T. Determining content validity and reporting a content validity index for simulation scenarios. Nursing Education Perspectives, 2015, 36(6): 389-393.

[25] Shah, A. D., Wood, D. M., Dargan, P. I. Internet survey of home storage of paracetamol by individuals in the UK. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 2012, 106(3): 253-259.

[26] Shrestha, S., Poudel, R. S., Pradhan, S., Adhikari, A., Giri, A., Poudel, A. Factors predicting home medication management practices among chronically ill older population of selected districts of Nepal. BMC Geriatrics, 2019, 19: 55. DOI: 10.1186/s12877-019-1081-7

[27] Söderhamn, O., Lindencrona, C., Ek, A. C. Ability for self-care among home dwelling elderly people in a health district in Sweden. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 2000, 37(4): 361-368. DOI: 10.1016/s0020-7489(00)00015-8

[28] Sweileh, W. M., Aker, O. A., Jaradat, N. A. Drug informational value of patient package insert (PPI): A sample study in Palestine. IUG Journal of Natural Studies, 2015, 12(2): 59-68.

[29] Teni, F. S., Surur, A. S., Belay, A., Wondimsigegn, D., Gelayee, D. A., Shewamene, Z, Birru, E. M. A household survey of medicine storage practices in Gondar town, northwestern Ethiopia. BMC Public Health, 2017, 17(1): 1-9. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-017-4152-8

[30] Tsiligianni, I. G., Delgatty, C., Alegakis, A., Lionis, C. A household survey on the extent of home medication storage. A cross-sectional study from rural Crete, Greece. European Journal of General Practice, 2011, 18(1): 3-8.

[31] United Nations. World Population Ageing 2019. Retrieved from: report.pdf

[32] Vlieland, N. D., van den Bemt, B. J. F., Wouters, H, Egberts, A. C. G., Bouvy, M., Gardarsdottir, H. Associations between personality traits and adequatehome storage of drugs in older patients. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 2018, 24: 1255-1266.

[33] Vlieland, N. D., van den Bemt, B., Bekker, C. L., Bouvy, M. L., Egberts, T., Gardarsdottir, H. Older patients’ compliance with drug storage recommendations. Drugs & Aging, 2018, 35(3): 233-241.

[34] Wieczorkiewicz, S. M., Kassamali, Z., Danziger, L. H. Behind Closed Doors: Medication Storage and Disposal in the Home. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2013, 47(4): 482-489. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1R706

[35] World Health Organization. WHO Guidelines on packaging for pharmaceutical products, 2002. Retrieved from: WHO_TRS_902_Annex9.pdf

[36] Yuan, F., Hu, C., Hu, X., Wei, D., Chen, Y., Qu, J. Photodegradation and toxicity changes of antibiotics in UV and UV/H2O2 process. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, 185(2-3): 1256-1263.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright © 2020 Lori Suet Hang Lo, Linda Yin King Lee, Irene Yuen Fung Wong, Yuen Yan Lai, Hoi Tong Au, Tsz Ying Wong, Chui Ping Chueng, Wai Lam Shek, Choi Yi Wong, Hoi Lam Chan, Hon Sze Cheuk, Nga Hing Mark, Shu Ching Wong, Wing Yan Cheung

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.