Jump to content
MrsSurvival Discussion Forums

Stockpiling Medicines

Recommended Posts

Hi Friends,


I am slowly but surely building up our reserves. It dawned on me in the past couple of days that I have NO medicines stockpiled!! And I am a registered nurse! Oh the shame! Seriously. :ashamed0002: So I am going to try to put together a medical kit this week.


I have a couple of questions, if y'all don't mind:


1) How do you know how much to buy? It seems there would be a fine line between 'enough' and 'too much' that would expire. I have myself and dh, 5yo boy, 3yo girl, 13mo girl and a baby due in November. Obviously we need things like Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl. How do I buy enough, yet not have to waste it due to the expiration date going bad?


2) Where can I buy antibiotics? I have a daughter allergic to most penicillins, so I specifically need Zithromax for her. And if I have to mail order these antibiotics, how do I know they are safe?


3) How do you stockpile prescription meds? I''m thinking specifically of my son's asthma meds.



My husband is getting laid off next Friday, so I obviously need to do this as frugally as possible. But I feel like it is a necessity. I can't believe I haven't thought of it before now...


Thanks so much for any help you can offer!

Link to post

I keep my vitamins and prescription medications in a thermoelectric IGLOO cooler with an A/C adapter to run it in the home, which sits on a bookcase near the kitchen door. It keeps these items as a cool temperature that will extend the life substantially better than at room temperature and doesn't take up room in the refrigerator. I constantly use/rotate these items so the freshest is available, but most items will be good for a year or more beyond the expiration date, if you have kept them cool.


I use the igloo since in case of an emergency I can grab and carry it to the car (and plug in there) without any delay and the items are still kept cool.


If you don't have one of these I would dedicate one of your produce crispers in the refrigerator to hold your vitamins, medication, and perhaps even your heirloom seeds.



Link to post

I keep meds in the freezer.


The expiration date doesn't mean the meds are bad. Some may lose a bit of effectiveness, but a study done by the military shows most are good for many yrs longer than previously thought possible. Liquid meds, nitro and synthetic thyroid are the most sensitive to time and degradation.


I buy benadryl, Motrin, Tylenol etc in the biggest containers I can find. They can frequently be ordered online in large quantities much cheaper than buying the small bottles at the store.


I get antibiotics from the feed store or order online as fish meds. They are the same as what you get with a prescription, except that some of the ones from the feedstore are compounded with more than one antibiotic. The packets are intended to be mixed with drinking water for the animals so try to find tablets or capsules instead of the water soluble meds.


Rx meds can be a problem. Try to refill as quickly as your insurance will allow and do it as often as possible. Keep the stock in the fridge in the case of inhalers and rotate using the oldest first.


Link to post

I buy the generic brands of cold med's etc....that helps save on the money. Also we have a "Bent and Dent" store where I have gotten good deals on meds. They sell stuff that is outdated and dented.

Link to post

The bent can store is a great place for vitamins, Tylenol, and bandaging material. I've also found ipecac, ichthammol, iodine, Monistat, talc, Preparation H, glycerin in the bottle, glycerin suppositories, toothpaste, dry mustard, Epsom salts, mineral salts, cod liver oil, Vicks, Benzedrex, all kinds of soaps, cough syrups, Fisherman's Friend, gas pills, capsicum ointment, calcium supplements...all kinds of medically useful stuff. Most of it was much cheaper than the regular stores, and most of it was the kind of thing that doesn't go bad for several years at least.



Beware that aspirin does go bad quickly. Also, a pharmacist told me that cheap vitamins may be less bio-available than expensive ones, but they normally last much, much longer.

Link to post

I agree with everything posted above, and I also stockpile knowing that the meds will still be effective after the expiration date.


I also stockpile herbal / homeopathic remedies. These can be just as effective as traditional medicine. Sometimes there is just no substitute for prescription meds, but a lot can be said for a more natural approach to health issues. Reading up and gaining knowledge on herbal, nutritional, and homeopathic remedies can be very helpful or even life-saving. I remember reading somewhere that the pioneers, while traveling across the prairie, were dying of some type of ailment. Their very wagon wheels were driving over the very flower / plant that could have saved many lives. God gave us all these medicinals--we just have to learn how to use them.


I don't mind when I go through my med storage and find expired meds ready to be thrown out. I know there was that cost issue, but I was happy to have had it on hand just in case. Better to have it on hand and then end up not needing it, rather than to not have enough because I didn't purchase enough out of fear of overstocking. Also, I hope I always have to throw out all my med storage when it comes time for rotation-- I hope I never have to use any of it because I hope no one in my family gets sick enough to use to meds! When I have to throw out a bottle of medicine, I will thank the LORD that this bottle never had to be opened, and thank Him for keeping us healthy. For me, throwing away expired meds is a happy sign of health!


Regarding prescription meds: Sometimes your hands are tied and there is nothing you can do but stay with the monthly routine of purchasing these meds. I don't know your family's personal situation, but I have a friend at church who has both athsma and diabeties and she said that when she achieves her goal of becoming healthier through diet and exersize, she can get off her meds. I don't know if this is an option for anyone in your family, but you may want to look into a natural alternative to fall back on if for some reason we can not longer access our prescriptions for whatever reason. I am doing this myself, right now. I have both fibromyalgia and arthritis and was on a prescritions medication for it. I chose to do research on natural alternatives to alieviate the pain and to stop the progression. I found a wealth of information and this is my second week off of the meds.


I hope this helps,

Your Sister in Christ

Edited by cootie
Link to post
Y'all don't forget nausea/vomiting stuff and loperamide for diarrhea.


Ginger helps with this quite a lot. Would you believe some of my ginger survived this year's freezes?

Link to post

Go to SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and this site on SCA Herbalists


When I was active in SCA, I was researching herbal remedies in support of my "persona", who was from about the same time as Cadfael. I'm telling y'all, the SCA is a wonderful resource for information on a wide variety of topics!. SCA members are serious about research and authenticity, so what they make or do is done with as authentic period gear as is available. One of my friends was a 14th century blacksmith, who had his set-up in his back yard and garage!


I knew another woman from Dallas who was a 12th century Scots woman - weaver, who dyed her own yarn, which she got from local sheep. She raised several of the plants she used for the dyes and made clothing and fabric on her own, reasonably authentic 12c loom.


When someone says TEOTWAKI will bring back the 'dark ages', SCA members are the ones who yell: :woohoo: !


Well, sorta... :grinning-smiley-044:

Link to post

After talking to our Dr. about our RX cost shooting through the roof when our insurance coverage changed year before last he changed the way he writes some of our RX. There are several of our RX that can be cut in half. So if we need 5mg. he orders 10mg. and we can split them. I still can order a 3 month supply every 3 months but it is actually a 6 month supply. This allows for us to stock up on all our routine meds just in case anything should happen. After we meet deductable (usually towards the end of the year) we ask for extra RXs so we can stock up some on the next years supply of other things....good antibiotic creams, antibiotics, pain meds. (non-controlled), cough, cold, asthma, etc.


We buy tylenol, tylenol pm, melatonin, ibuprophen and naproxcen, in bulk at Sam's.


At the end of the year I check to see if we have anything left in our flexable spending account and use it to stock up on first aid supplies and OTC meds.


I love the idea of the cooler and will have to look into that.


I need to get better organize. We realized last week that we were low on one of DH's blood pressure meds. It only took 2 days for them to ship them but now I need to try to catch back up on it so we always have plenty of them. I am hoping DH just put the 'extras' somewhere else and I'll find them when I clean out the cabinet this week.




Link to post

Y'all, there are all such fabulous, wise ideas! Thank you so much for sharing with me.


My husband is inheriting a small fridge from work that we were considering storing the meds in. But I really like the idea of the cooler - it's so ready to pickup and go.


AFA Rx meds, the only thing we have to buy Rx routinely is my son's asthma inhalers - a maintenance and a rescue inhaler. Actually our health insurance ends on Friday because my husband is getting laid off. So i've gone through the cabinets and re-ordered *everything* that has a refill on it! From RX diaper ointment (you never know...!) to my fever blister meds. I'm grateful we could refill them before Friday and put them away for an emergency!


As always, you all have given me tons of great ideas and encouragement to get crackin'. Thanks so much.


Cootie - what a fabulous perspective you have on being grateful to not need the meds. Thanks for sharing it. It's helped me look at that angle in a different, more humble way. :)

Link to post

I have two kids with life threatening conditions so I know just how you feel. I had to do some major research to find out just how to store medicines and how long to store them and fortunately I had a really good pharmacist who just took several classes on it and was very concerned for my kids. Here's what she told me to do.


1. Buy enough meds (over the counter) for a year. If they have longer Exp. Dates then buy enough till that exp. date.

2. For the prescription medicines depending on your insurance you can usually go a week ahead of time to get your refills which after 4 months is a month's extra medicine. If you do it fora year you'll be 4 months ahead.

3. On prescription medicines ask the pharmacist for the manufacturer's exp. date, because they are not on the bottles and can be as close as that month for expiring. I found this out the hard way. And I got that info straight from the factory!

4. Do NOT store your medicines in the fridge or freezer since the moisture in the fridge and freezer is very high and will make the pills swell and be useless. (I was shocked by that one. The pharmacist said that was one of the biggest mistakes people make) Also she said that some medicines loose their potency or won't work at all.) But she said that some medicines require to stay cool. It is best to research the medicine and find out what the best conditions are for it. The medicine the kids take needs to stay at room temperature (not too high or low)

5. All medicines should stay out of light. She said to store them in a dry dark box in a cool place.

6. She said that there have been medicines found in military med boxes in storage areas that were opened after 30 years that were just fine and tested to find them at only 1% less potency. So it can be done, but it depends on the medicine and how it's stored.

7. Lastly rotate all medicines every time you get fresh ones. I store my medicines in a rubber maid box under my kitchen table with desiccate packets in them and every month when we get new prescriptions or over-the-counter meds I rotate the meds and I swap out the desiccate packets.


If you are really lucky you will get the original bottle the prescriptions were packaged in and they will last a lot longer then the ones in the plastic bottles. I have a few, but the pharmacy doesn't like to give them out much.


OH and watch the recalls because a lot of the stuff I have has been recalled and now I have to lug it all back in. (Grumble Grumble).


Hope this helps.

Link to post

For those that stock aspirin, you might want to know that if it starts to smell like vinegar, it has broken down and should be replaced. (Its an easy enough way to tell.) I get vet meds from my local fleet-farm store. You want to do some homework if you do this, I cross check everything by latin names with my human PDRs (Physician's Desk Reference and Merk manuals) and sometimes find the meds listed in older editions than the current one. Makes me wonder if the pharm companies sell the older (less profitable meds) on the vet market after demand in the human one diminishes.

Make sure the meds are USP (US Pharmaceutical grade) and be aware that injectible vet meds may take larger needles than human ones, since apparently pain to your livestock is not aw critical as pain to a human. Oral is best of course, it is much easier to utilize. If you save antibiotics, the Hesperian books state that the pennicillin family of meds can be used long after expiration, as their chemical formula does not break down with age, they just get weaker. The military med books also are very useful in that they have info on what kind to use for what, and substitutions to make in case you don't have the first choice medicine in stck.

The purchasing early of meds does indeed allow for an increase in supply - slow but steady. Rotate to keep the newest ones in your stash (ie, when you get to the 4-wk level of saved meds, the 5th month or so, use the saved ones and set aside the 5th new refill. It will help keep yur stash a little newer. (Been doin' this a while - can you tell?


Link to post

Good data here!


Cootie, I also loved your perspective on throwing meds out being a GOOD thing! :)


Jingles, do you know how the average person could get data on WHICH meds always require cold, WHICH should not, etc? I'm not exactly on a first name basis with my pharmacist. Last script I needed was years ago. [a good thing!]



This IS something we have to be very careful with. Please do your own research until you are completely satisfied that you understand this topic for yourself and your family. Buy or borrow the books! Do the research! Have Plan B, C and D!



MtRider [...planing to give my ADHD COMPUTER some meds pretty soon..... aaarrgh! ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
Link to post

There is a good possibility that even in a "long emergency" situation, there will be doctors available, but they will have no supplies or meds. That is the situation most of us are likely to find ourselves in. We may never need to diagnose or try to figure out treatment, we just need to have our own supplies and meds. (Not that having the books would be a bad thing, of course.)

Link to post

As for which ones need to be cold or not. The medicines you get have the manufacturer's name on the prescription label on the bottle, you can look up their website and there is usually information on each medicine at their site for general use. IF you need more information on the medicine you can call the manufacturer like I had to do and ask their medical rep about that medicine. In my case that was easy because my kids condition requires that we keep extra pills for stress dosing. So I explained that sometimes we have those pills here for a whole year and I needed to know how to store them safely. After a couple days and a lot of research from the rep she found out for me. I was a little upset that she didn't actually know since it was her unit, but apparently they don't do that form of research. As far as they were concerned as long as it lasts a year that is all they care about. But she was good enough to look up what she could for me. She was the one that found out that the pills we were getting were almost expired as it was. I was really upset about that one!


As far as getting to know your pharmacist. Because of my kids condition our pharmacists know us by name and know both of my kids whole entire life depends on their helping me and I made that clear from day one. So they are good at helping me. We use Walgreen's because we can go anywhere and still get the kids meds if we need to which is very helpful when we travel.


The biggest thing is getting brave enough to ask. Because I did ask my kids Doctor learned about this too since I told them all about what I learned AND they also found out how much of a shortage there is of their medicines. There is only 1 pharmacy in our area that carries the kids medicine and only orders one months worth at a time. If we don't stock up and anything happens (like the trucking strikes that was threatened last summer) we are in BIG trouble. So now even our Doctors encourage us to hold on to our extras.


If you don't ask they won't care. So ask and they will care.

Link to post

Jingles, I'm so sorry your kids are in such a vulnerable situation, even now. I'm glad you have been so vigilant and have gotten some needed answers on their behalf. :grouphug:



Link to post
  • 4 months later...


I don't mind when I go through my med storage and find expired meds ready to be thrown out. I know there was that cost issue, but I was happy to have had it on hand just in case. Better to have it on hand and then end up not needing it, rather than to not have enough because I didn't purchase enough out of fear of overstocking. Also, I hope I always have to throw out all my med storage when it comes time for rotation-- I hope I never have to use any of it because I hope no one in my family gets sick enough to use to meds! When I have to throw out a bottle of medicine, I will thank the LORD that this bottle never had to be opened, and thank Him for keeping us healthy. For me, throwing away expired meds is a happy sign of health!



Cootie... I have been looking for this statement for a long time... and while it applys specifically to medicine... it can be applied to everything. Thank you for saying it. It has made my thought process on items so much better... you have rid me of the guilt. Hugs.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.