One of the most important facets of healthcare is the administration of medications to people who need them. For this reason, preserving them so they are effective is very important. All medicines contain substances that are sensitive to certain conditions, one of which is temperature. If you would like to learn how temperature can affect medication stability, read our guide on the subject.
Chemical Stability at Risk
Medications contain various chemicals that, when combined into a capsule, liquid, or another form, interact with the human body and fend off sickness and dysfunction. These chemicals are effective when they enter the body, but they are typically not chemically stable enough to last long periods even in the best conditions. Extreme temperatures affect medication stability as well. In extreme heat, medicines begin to break down. Then, impurities form that compromise the medication’s potency, or ability to treat someone. On top of this, impurities could potentially harm the person who uses the meds. Extreme cold also causes medicine proteins to degrade. For example, insulin and vaccines that are frozen during storage lose their effectiveness and may be unusable.
There are some physical markers for medication degradation, some of which are unpleasant. As chemical changes take place, meds can change the color, texture, and even develop a foul odor or taste. If your medicine tastes off, it’s possible that it encountered extreme heat or cold at some point in its preparation and delivery. If it takes on a liquid form, medicines’ viscosity could change, belying its chemical break down and loss of potency.
Temperature can affect medication stability, but what are some ways to ensure medications retain effectiveness and help people as they should? The World Health Organization recommends those transporting pharmaceuticals store them in well-ventilated spaces without odors or light. Also, the vehicle’s internal humidity should be less than 60% and the temperature precisely maintained according to meds’ various requirements. It’s not uncommon to store medications at around 5 degrees Celsius—just above freezing but cool enough to avoid heat.
The most reliable way to keep medications cool is to use insulated trucks equipped with precise refrigeration technology when shipping the product. Emerald Transportation Solutions offers many different vehicles that can help preserve medications and maintain their potency.