How hot is it? Hot enough to alter meds

Published 12:40 am Friday, June 22, 2018

With triple digit heat on the horizon, local pharmacist Tavia Tillman of Mallette Drugs said people should store their medication in cooler temperatures.

“Most medications are not supposed to be kept in high temperatures,” Tillman said. “The required temperature for most medications is 77 degrees.”

Tillman said that anything above 77 degrees could cause the medication to chemically break down.

“With temperatures reaching into the 100’s, medication will definitely break down at a high level if left in the car,” Tillman said. “Not to mention, if you leave medicine in your car it will be stolen.”

Christopher Gerhart an Auburn University pharmacy student interning at Mallette Drugs, said that compounds, gels and creams will stick together in the heat.

“Most any medicine that you have to keep in the refrigerator will ruin if they are in the heat,” Gerhart said. “Especially insulin.”

Both Gerhart and Tillman said that one of the most dangerous medications that would be affected by the heat is patches that administer drugs through the skin.

“When thinking about heat, we need to think about patches that that go directly on the skin,” Tillman said. “Fentanyl patches are programmed to release medication per hour, so if your body temperatures goes up and you’re sweating more, you could release way more than necessary and overdose.”

Gerhart said that Fentanyl patches are required to stay in a 77-degree temperature or 88 if on excursions.

According to Accuweather, here are some things to look for if someone suspects medications have been compromised by heat:

  • Different color: if tablets are white, they may turn yellow.
  • Strange smell or taste: This could be a sign of deterioration.
  • Loses its form: Tablets could chip, crumble or powder more easily. Capsules will melt or stick together.