The ideal temperature for most medications is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this average is around room temperature, different medications have different temperature requirements and recommendations.
If medications aren’t kept at the proper temperature, a lot of things can go wrong. In fact, it could cause the medication to become completely altered or not work at all.
If you’re wondering why accurate temperature is important for medication storage, keep reading. We’ll explain why medicine storage is so important for pharmacies.
Avoiding the Heat
One of the worst things that can happen to your medications is exposure to heat. If your medications are exposed to extreme temperatures, it could change the complete chemical makeup of the medication.
Some medications may stop working and others may have different effects after being exposed to the heat.
Why Medications Stop Working
Those medications that stop working due to heat exposure do this simply because the heat reduces the potency of the medications. The medication is still there. It’s basically just diluted.
If medications become too diluted, the body does not produce the typical reaction to the medication. Hence, the medication doesn’t have the same effects as before and you notice no difference after taking it.
This is why medications are typically kept at room temperature or cooler. You don’t want to pay for medications that don’t work.
You also don’t want to run the risk of having an important medication become useless. For example, you don’t want a diabetic’s insulin supply to become void. This could be life-threatening.
Why Medications Become Altered
Medications that are exposed to heat can become chemically altered. If a chemical change takes place, then the result of taking the medication is completely different.
For example, antibiotics can cause stomach or kidney damage if they decay in the heat. Extensive damage may be difficult for medical professionals to reverse. This is not to mention the long-term ramifications of organ damage.
Hormonal medications like thyroid medications and birth control can also become altered if they’re exposed to too much heat. These popular medications are important to those who take them. You don’t want to run the risk of useless medications like these.
If you’re use diagnostic strips like blood sugar testing strips, pregnancy tests, or ovulating tests, you should make sure that these stay at room temperature too. These kinds of medical tools can also fall prey to high temperatures.
You have to be careful with exposing any medications or other medical tools to conditions involving high temperatures.
How Pharmacies and Other Medicines Storage Can Prepare
As we’ve discussed, high heat environments can cause issues for the medications exposed to them. It is very easy for individuals to expose their medications to high-heat environments. All it takes is a trip to Arizona or exposure to the sun while sitting on a car seat.
However, major heat exposure can still occur in a pharmacy. Pharmacies may experience a power outage or even an outdoor heatwave. Both instances can destroy pharmaceutical supply.
There are a few steps that pharmacies can take if they want to avoid deactivating or altering medications.
1. Pharmacies Need Adequate Packaging
If medications are not packages properly, this can cause exposure to heat (and other bad things). But, what is proper packaging?
In order for the medication to be properly packaged, it needs to be sealed and covered well. Any kind of opening can cause defects or changes in the product.
Containers have to be sealed properly. Make sure to tighten tops and double-check seals.
Also, you shouldn’t open new packages unless you absolutely have to. You never want to open a package and then find out you don’t need it.
This wastes the product that you just opened since it may now be contaminated.
2. Pharmacies Need Adequate Ventilation
We recommend that your pharmacy take advantage of windows and air vents. Keep things open and let the air flow through the room.
Yes, we’re suggesting that you keep your windows open. You should make sure to have a screen for your window though.
You don’t want any bugs, birds, or other things getting into your pharmacy, but you still want the cool air to get in.
Make sure that the boxes in your pharmacy are separated. They shouldn’t be stacked directly on top of one another so that fresh air can reach every box.
3. Pharmacies Need Adequate Circulation
Now that you’re bringing fresh air into your pharmacy, you need to circulate the air. Use a fan (or multiple fans) to circulate fresh air throughout your pharmacy.
You should make sure to circulate any of the storerooms that you may have as well.
In bigger spaces, you may want to invest in a ceiling fan to ensure that the entire room is being exposed to fresh, cool air.
This is another reason why you need to ensure that your boxes are directly on top of one another. In this case, the proper setup allows the circulating air to make it to every box.
4. Pharmacies Need Adequate Air Conditioning
If you can, you should be using an air conditioner to keep your pharmacy cool. Proper air conditioning prevents medications from becoming altered or useless. As we discussed, you don’t want warm air ruining the multiple medications that are stored within a pharmacy.
Air conditioners require constant electricity and regular maintenance. If you can afford to keep up with this, you should take advantage of an air conditioning system for your pharmacy.
Temperature Monitoring for Medications
The bottom line is that medications need to be exposed to the proper temperatures. If they are exposed to extreme temperatures, they can stop working or have a completely different effect.
If you’re looking for the right temperature monitoring product for your medicines storage, consider having temperature controlled by a Wi-Fi sensor. Our simple yet accurate design is perfect for keeping your medications at the perfect temperature.
Contact us here at Sensoscientific if you have more questions about remote monitoring.
To read more about maintaining proper laboratory temperature, read all about laboratory temperature and humidity here.