Wage Up! The importance of keeping your medications up-to-date

When I first met my husband he told me he had a severe allergy to bees. As in, he had to have an epi pen on him at all times because if he didn't to the hospital on time, the allergy can be life threatening. How's that for a second date?

As we grew closer and I learned about epipens, I realized that these needed to be replaced every year or so. If it expired, it's not as potent, which isn't exactly reassuring especially if you're in a life or death situation. When we lived overseas, we made sure that my husband would get a new one when we would visit the U.S. during the summer holidays.

One year, he forgot to bring the epipen back to the U.S. so that we could get it replaced. Now I know what you're thinking: why is this an issue? You see, we both lived and worked in China at the time and we had no clue how to get a epipen. Even asking locals and visiting clinics, we were never able to explain what my husband needed.

My husband told me not to worry, even though I knew his epipen expired within a few months. Sure, it wasn't going to just stop working (there's anecdotal evidence it'll still work within two to three years) but I didn't want to take the chance of us traveling overseas and have something happen to my husband.

Taking stock of your medications

Even if you don't have a serious allergy like my husband, it's still important to keep your medication updated. Whether you take one or many types of medication on a regular basis, keeping organized is crucial for your well-being. This is where you can seek the help of a professional — like your local pharmacist — on what to do to ensure your medication is up to date and other important related details.

Something to keep in mind is how you'll store your medication and proper usage. For example, I learned that my husband has to store his epipen at room temperature, so he had it in his briefcase for work by his desk and in our hallway closet when were at home.

Whatever your situation, make sure you consult your doctor to find out what you need to do. Getting organized is crucial, especially if you are planning on getting your purchases reimbursed from your FSA or HSA.

We didn't have the luxury of consulting the pharmacist that gave my husband his epipen because we were still living overseas at that point, so we kept all records that were given to us. You bet I read those papers and brochures from top to bottom so that I understood how to use it.

As for my husband's expired epipen, we kept it on hand until we were able to replace it. Luckily, we found an international hospital that was able to prescribe my husband a new one. It was expensive to do so, but so worth it.

As always, we're not doctors. Be sure to discuss any and all medication-related concerns with a qualified medical professional before making any decisions about your regimen.

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