As a resident of Central Arkansas, one of the foremost questions on your mind is how to beat the summer heat. With average highs above 90 for much of the season it is difficult to stay cool, especially if you do not have an advanced air conditioning system.
Preparing for the summer is especially crucial if you take any important medications. From generic drugs to the rarest and most specialized medicines, it is critical that you keep your pharmaceuticals out of the heat.
How Does Heat Affect Medications?
If your read the fine print on your medicine bottles, you will find that many of them say to store them at “room temperature.” The official definition of “room temperature” is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You should never store your medicines somewhere that is outside this range for long periods of time. If the temperature does go outside of this range for a short period of time, it should never rise above 86 degrees or below 59.
If medications are exposed to excessive heat or cold, they become less potent, meaning they are less effective at treating you. For example, if you store lorazepam, a drug for anxiety and sleep disorders somewhere with temperatures above 98 degrees, it loses 75 percent of it efficacy. In some cases, extremely high temperatures can even cause medicines to explode or to become completely ineffective.
How Can I Protect My Medications from Heat?
Protecting medications from heat is particularly important if you do not have air conditioning. While this is less common in a hot state like Arkansas, there are still some homes that do not have climate control, and many others where the air conditioning is not effective or the residents choose not to use it. In these cases, you need to store your medications in the coolest part of your building. You should also check them regularly to see if they have changed in shape or color; if so, they have likely been damaged by heat, meaning you must dispose of and replace them. If any of your medications can withstand very low temperatures, put them in the refrigerator.
Even if you do have air conditioning, there is still a risk that you could leave your medications vulnerable to heat. To avoid this, make sure to:
Keep the medications away from windows or other sources of sunlight
It is important to check the temperature setting on your refrigerator so it doesn’t get too cold.
Avoid storing medications in bathroom cabinets and other areas where they are exposed to moisture
Keep the medications far from ovens, stoves, and other indoor sources of heat
Never leave your medications in the car unattended when bringing them into or out of your home
Check your medications for signs of heat damage each time you take them
As a well-stocked pharmacy, Smith-Caldwell Drug Store is committed to providing you with the medications and insight you need for maximal health. For more information, contact us by calling (501) 392-5470 today.