Heat, medications don’t mix
“Medications can be altered by extreme heat and even moisture, causing them to become less potent before their expiration dates,” said Dr. Hani Jneid, assistant professor of medicine – cardiology at BCM and interventional cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
For example, Jneid said aspirin can begin to break down into acetic acid and salicylic acid, both of which can irritate the stomach and not have the intended medicinal effect.
Dr. Sara Bezek, assistant professor of medicine – emergency medicine at BCM, and her colleagues at the Harris County Hospital District’s Ben Taub General Hospital said that some medications are more sensitive to heat than others.
“For example, some medication for hypothyroidism should be stored away from light and moisture and at a temperature no higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit,” the group noted. “Another example includes open vials of insulin, a medication for diabetes that should be stored at room temperature, can lose its strength when exposed to higher temperatures.”
In general, most medications should be kept in a cool, dry location and in their original container.