Keeping your medicines safe and cool in summer

Medicines hot image2

With the Australian long hot summer now upon us, it is important to know how to keep our medicines out of the heat and humidity. Some medicines lose their effectiveness when stored above a certain temperature. For example, Nitrolingual sprays for chest pain, insulin for diabetes and Epipens for anaphylaxis would be less effective. Other medications, typically considered more stable, can still be affected by incorrect storage conditions, even in the short term.

Whether you are planning a summer break away or spending days pottering around the sunshine, we have some tips below:

  • Most medicines should be stored below 25 degrees, but do not store them in the fridge unless the label says so.
  • Avoid storing your medicines in the bathroom - the heat and moisture from showers and bathtubs make medicines deteriorate much more quickly.
  • Avoid leaving medicines in the car - if you are out on a hot day, consider only taking the medicines you need or use an insulated bag or lunchbox with a cold pack for medicines that need to be refrigerated.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates and bring any expired medicines back to the Pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • If you are unsure if your medicine may have been stored incorrectly, especially those that are more sensitive to temperature changes, it is best to get a replacement packet or bottle. Assuming it may be still effective could be risky or harmful.
  • Discuss with one of the pharmacists if you need storage options when travelling.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also has a good summary of what is written on medicine labels in Australia and why -

Meds in summer

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