Heat affects medication: what you need to know

With another heat wave hitting Philadelphia, you now know that high temperatures and humidity can affect your vibeyour child’s behavior, your animal’s well-being and even your favorite zoo animal’s appetite.

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

Extreme temperatures can affect the drug potency and effectiveness, so it is important to pay attention to the label storage instructions. Although some medications, such as those in pill form, may be more tolerant of temperature changes, liquid medications, such as insulin, are sensitive to temperature changes, according to Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center.

A cool, dry cupboard or drawer is usually a good place for drugs. Make sure any medications kept in the bathroom are kept in their original bottles, with tight seals to prevent damage from humidity and steam from a hot shower. Kitchen cabinets away from the stove and microwave, or a dresser drawer are storage options with less fluctuation in temperature and humidity. But be sure to put the medicine where children can’t reach it.

It depends. Pharmacies and drug manufacturers are required by the FDA to take precautions to protect drug integrity delivered by post. They may use special temperature-screening packaging, place temperature-monitoring devices in the packaging, or use expedited shipping, according to Good Rx Health, which tracks drug prices.

Yet even properly packaged medications can end up on the doorstep for several hours. Good Rx Health recommends tracking deliveries so you can plan to bring them inside as soon as they arrive. If this is not possible, call the mail order pharmacy to ask for delivery instructions to limit the time the medications are out in the heat. A pharmacist can also tell you how vulnerable your medications are to heat damage.

» READ MORE: Philadelphia suffers a heat wave. Here’s what to know about the symptoms and treatment of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

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