Associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Canberra Dr Greg Kyle said high temperatures affected the chemical stability of medicines and could render them ineffective.
“All medicines – except those needing storage in a fridge or freezer – state ‘store below 25 degrees’, because exposure to higher temperatures can reduce their effectiveness,” Dr Kyle said.
“Keeping your medicines cool can be difficult during summer – especially during heatwaves, like the one we’re currently experiencing, but it is vitally important.”
Dr Kyle advises people to find a cool spot in their house to store their medicine, which was likely to be away from external walls and on the ground floor of two-storey homes or in a cool bag.
“It is important to protect your medicines from extremes of temperature, so definitely don’t leave them in the car, but also don’t put them in the fridge, unless the packaging says to do so,” Dr Kyle said.
“Every medication is different and even the form it is in – tablet or liquid – can influence how stable it is at different temperatures, so if you are in any doubt, consult your pharmacist.”
Greg Kyle’s tips for medicine storage in a heatwave:
1. Try to keep medicines below 25 degrees
2. Find a cool spot in your house or use a cool bag
3. Never store medicines in your car
4. Only put medicines in the fridge if the packaging says to do so
5. If medicine gets hot, immediately move it to a cooler place, then consult your pharmacist