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Storing Prescription Drugs


hobopals

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I have traveled with medications before, but I guess because I've been through such a hot and humid summer I started wondering whether heat affects prescriptions. They are in pill form in amber color prescription bottles.

 

I have a Coleman soft cooler with a hard liner. I thought it might be prudent to put an ice pack in a zip lock bag, and put my meds in the cooler . I'm not looking to make them ice cold, just protect them from the heat. Does anyone see a downside to this? Thank you for any advice, suggestions you may have.

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No ice or ice packs please, they will leave your stuff damp, much worse that warm. If you want to put them in a cooler to avoid the hottest part of the day you can, just remove the lid overnight to let things cool down.

 

I wouldn't worry about heat myself unless I was in a situation where the interior of the fiver was getting over 100 degrees for days in a row.

 

I worry far more about damp as that is really bad for a lot of pills, tossing them in tupperware with a damp-rid pack is something I have done.

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I'll try to answer and thank everyone for their input in one post. I wasn't trying to refrigerate, just keep medications from extreme heat. I think I've gotten the answer from what everyone pretty much indicated. A cooler will be cooled enough at night to keep the drugs in it to keep extreme heat from being a problem while I'm driving during the day or if I leave the trailer for a day to sight see. I have a good feeling about this advice and will not use an ice pack. As always, everyone's responses are not only right on the money, but much appreciated by this poster. Thank you, all, for responding. :)

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A lot depends on the Medication. For example I travel with Insulin.

 

Insulin no longer requires constant refrigeration like it used to, however once it reaches room temperature its only good for about three weeks. Also it will become ineffective if it freezes or reaches 85 degrees, so in many parts of the US that means it needs to be kept cool. Pretty much the same thing with BG Test Strips.

 

I always keep at least one vial/pen in the fridge, and if it's hot out I also put my current vial there.

 

I'm sure there are many other medications with similar or worse restrictions.

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Here's an example: while with a medical mission/relief team in northwestern Somalia (horn of Africa not too far from where the Gulf of Aden turns into the Red Sea), the only things we kept refrigerated were the vaccines after we received them from WHO. Since we were with an NGO, many of the drugs we had were at or past their labeled shelf life. Everything worked just fine - from oral and injectable antibiotics (reconstituted from powder) to pitocin that was two years out of date. We did not have or deal with insulin - but I also did not encounter a single case of diabetes in a year (might tell you something about how we eat in our culture). Air conditioning... are you kidding!

 

Rob

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We asked ours and they weren't familiar with RVs but they did have good advice on humidity and temperature. They were concerned about high humidity or worse condensation from refrigeration but not so much about heat. What prompted our question was our mail box that often is in the low 130 degree range, and how that would impact our pills.

 

They did advise us to try to get the gel caps out of that heat as soon as possible but that the other pills would be fine for a few hours. Now that was Express Scripts that depends on snail-mail delivery so they might be a touch biased so take it for what it is worth.

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Most of the information packets that come with meds give a temperature range for storage. An ice chest may be too cold for some, while sitting it a trailer may be too hot for others. My solution is to keep my meds in a styrofoam cooler (a small one that was used to deliver FedExed cheese). I don't add any ice or other coolants, but do sometimes leave the top open on cool nights & replace it when packing up for the morning drive. The ice chest helps average the temperature.

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I have to wonder why you wouldn't ask your pharmacist this question rather than on a forum since it is an important health question? Chuck

 

Because I thought people who RV would know more about my question and could tell me how they handled medications. I rarely travel in the summer and with temps in the mid to high 90s, I thought I'd ask, and I got my answer.

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Because I thought people who RV would know more about my question and could tell me how they handled medications. I rarely travel in the summer and with temps in the mid to high 90s, I thought I'd ask, and I got my answer.

 

Apologies for the double post. I don't know how to delete the post. I'm having some technical issues with the forum at the moment.

 

Again, thank you to all who posted replies. I've been on the road traveling to NM and have been through some very, very hot weather. I did as was suggested by several people. I put my medications in a cooler without any ice and it seems to keep them at an acceptable temperature.

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  • 7 months later...

I got advice from a pharmacist five years ago, and immediately bought a very small Styrofoam cooler.  The pharmacist pointed out that the "safe" storage range for most prescriptions drugs is room temperature in a regular house, so a small cooler without ice will achieve this for you.  The only exception is if I have left my rig in an airport for a few days in heat, and in that case, I tuck in a couple of very small ice packs and cover the cooler with a couple of towels. 

I refill my prescriptions for 90 days and have a few I take as needed, so they may need to last more than 90 days.  I just wanted to make sure my stuff does not prematurely deteriorate.

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  • 1 month later...
On ‎8‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 4:35 PM, hobopals said:

I'll try to answer and thank everyone for their input in one post. I wasn't trying to refrigerate, just keep medications from extreme heat. I think I've gotten the answer from what everyone pretty much indicated. A cooler will be cooled enough at night to keep the drugs in it to keep extreme heat from being a problem while I'm driving during the day or if I leave the trailer for a day to sight see. I have a good feeling about this advice and will not use an ice pack. As always, everyone's responses are not only right on the money, but much appreciated by this poster. Thank you, all, for responding. :)

I have a styro cooler in the back of my van and keep it stocked with bottles of water.  if the top is left open at night and closed early in the day the contents stay cool all day.  I would keep a couple of bottles of water with the meds for "thermal mass" to help the load through the day.

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