Summer heat can affect medications - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Summer heat can affect medications


Local Pharmacist Vic Heisserer said medications can lose their effect by getting too hot.

Heisserer is a pharmacist at Horst Pharmacy in Jackson. He said people need to make sure their medications, both prescription and over the counter, don't get too hot.

He said people need to store their medications at room temperature.

"That room temperature is 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit," said Heisserer.

He said if it gets warmer than that, it can cause problems.

"Most likely it would not turn it into something dangerous, but it would start degrading it, so it would start losing its effect," said Heisserer.

So he said it's important people don't leave their medications in a hot car for more than ten minutes.

"I have several people ask me if they can just pick up their medicine and go shopping, and leave their medicine locked up in their car, and this time of year, that's a very bad idea because I think temperature in the car can probably get up 135, 140 degrees and you just couldn't guarantee that you're medicine would not be altered," said Heisserer. "We usually tell them to put it in their purse, carry it with them, and not leave it locked up in the car this time of year."

He said not only can medications lose their effect, but some, like gel caps, can actually melt.

"Some medicines like suppositories, they're designed to melt at body temperature, so you're talking 98 degrees, they're going to start melting," said Heisserer.

He said your home doesn't have air conditioning, you should think about ways to keep the medication cool.

"With no air conditioner they probably ought to store it in a refrigerator, because we're talking 100 degree temperatures, so that would be on the safe side, the only drawback there is a lot of medicines are moisture sensitive, so you would probably have to be careful, store it in the door of the refrigerator and make sure moisture is not a factor, keep it in its original container and tightly sealed," said Heisserer.

Heisserer said the heat can not only affect the drugs, but also the person taking the medications.

"When you combine something like Aleve or ibuprofen with very high temperatures, and you could get heat stroke anyway, well when you combine it with a medicine that's going to dampen your kidney action that makes it much more likely," said Heisserer.

He said if you're taking medication, it's important that both you and your prescriptions don't get too warm.

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