How heat can affect your medications


Heat and humidity can affect medications, therefore they need to be stored properly to maintain their effectiveness. — dpa

You know by now that high temperatures and humidity can affect your mood, your child’s behaviour, your pet’s well-being and even your favourite zoo animal’s appetite.

Heat can also affect medications. Here’s what to know:

How does extreme heat affect medications?

Extreme temperatures can affect the potency and effectiveness of medication, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the label’s storage instructions.

Although some medications, such as those in pill form, may be more tolerant of temperature variations, liquid medications, such as insulin, are sensitive to temperature changes, according to Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center in the United States.

Where should I store medications?

A cool, dry cabinet or drawer is generally a good spot for medications.

Make sure any medications kept in the bathroom are stored in their original bottles, with tight seals to avoid damage from the moisture and steam from a hot shower.

Kitchen cabinets away from the stove and microwave, or a dresser drawer, are storage options with less temperature and humidity fluctuation.

But be sure to put medications in a place where children can’t reach them.

Are mail-order prescriptions safe if exposed to high heat?

It depends.

Pharmacies and drug manufacturers have the option of using special temperature-control packaging, place temperature-monitoring devices in the packages, or use expedited shipping, according to Good Rx Health, which tracks drug prices.

Still, even properly-packaged medications may wind up on a hot doorstep for several hours.

Good Rx Health recommends tracking deliveries, so you can plan to bring them inside as soon as they arrive.

If that’s not possible, call the pharmacy to provide or request for delivery instructions, so that you can limit the amount of time the medication is outside in the heat.

A pharmacist can also tell you how vulnerable to heat damage your medications are. – tca/dpa

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