Summer Heat is Bad for Meds

1 decade 11 months 3 weeks ago Sunday, July 22 2007 Jul 22, 2007 Sunday, July 22, 2007 10:57:04 AM CDT July 22, 2007 in News

Taking your prescription pills is something you have to do no matter what the season. But the heat can cause changes to your prescription meds, making them less effective.

It depends on the type of drug you have and how long you keep it out of it's ideal temperature range. The people that are at highest risk are those taking drugs where they have a serious condition and their doctors have them on a strict dosage.

But there are still certain injections, pills or capsules that feel the effect of summer more than others. It's common sense when explained but for most, their knowledge just scratches the surface.

You picked your medication up in the morning, parked it for the day, had some dinner and are driving home from work. That's nine hours your meds have sat in ninety degree weather.

"When we introduce heat and humidity to that situation, it can speed up that process and start the degregation process outside the body and obviously that would not be preferable," said Triston Brownfield, D&H pharmacist.

And your bathroom cabinet might not be the answer.

"That has some of the highest heat and humidity in the household and that can lead to causing problems with your medication in terms of degregation, loss of potency etc.," said Brownfield.

"I didn't realize it would drop by being in the sun," said Tom Duncan, user of prescription medications.

Drug manufacturers recommend keeping your medicine in temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees. Medication shouldn't be outside that range for more than twenty minutes.

"Keep the medicine with you because chances are if you're uncomfortable the medicine probably won't be doing to well either," said Brownfield.

One thyroid medication maker says their medication should be thrown out if it is ever above 86 degrees. Allergy injections are often left in cars and Brownfield advises against it.

"We want that to work when it needs to," said Brownfield.

Brownfield says the effects will be unnoticable in most medication, but still should not be left behind.

So how do you keep pills in the state they were meant to be? What person with meds in their car thinks about that? Read the instructions on your meds to make sure you're not taking a placebo.

Brownfield says you can often tell if the sun has affected your medication by looking at it. Creams may become runny, gel capsules will melt or stick together, injections become clumpy. For pills their texture may change. They could crumble or become powdery.

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