Extreme summer heat can affect day-to-day medications

"Don't let your medications get too hot."

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)  – Head pharmacist Robert White has owned Robert’s Apothecary for nearly half a century.

He said he sees the same issue every year with people leaving medicine in their cars or outside.

The summer heat gets too close to their medication and it can become useless.

“You think of little kids and when we mix up an antibiotic, that needs to go in the refrigerator most of them do. All the diabetic injections are refrigerated. And if they are left out of the fridge for too long, it’s kinda like leaving a carton of milk out for too long, they go bad,” said White.

People constantly forget to grab their valuables from a hot car, which includes their daily medicine.

“We have a number of medications, prescriptions or over-the-counter, that are in those oil-filled gel capsules. They can gum up, and get stuck together, plus the contents will begin to degrade with exposure to high temp and you can see temps of 120 degrees in cars. Now if they’ve been in the parking lot an hour and the windows are up,” said White.

A more modern method people use to get their prescriptions filled is telehealth.

Medications are now delivered to patients’ homes.

It may be cheaper but it can cost a lot more in the long run.

“Sometimes it takes ten days to get something shipped from here to Amory because it’ll go from here to Grenada to Jackson then back around before it gets to Amory. We have actually seen that happen in shipping medication just 45 miles away,” said White.

Refrigerated medicines are usually shipped in styrofoam containers and an ice pack to keep the drug at a safe temperature.

This temporary technique can only last for so long.

“Now that it’s summertime in Mississippi, it’s hot and now if it’s stored in a warehouse at a shipping facility, many of those are not refrigerated and it gets pretty warm in there. So shipping can be an issue,” said White.

White said if medication is left out for an extended amount of time, it’s not likely to be toxic but the ineffectiveness can have dire consequences.

“If it’s somebody’s heart medication and it’s lost 80% of its potency, then they’re gonna have some issues from lack of effectiveness. That would be the danger,” said White.

If you’re traveling or will be out in the sun for long periods of time, you should keep your medications cooler bag with cold packs.

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