Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be that hot outside for a car to become an oven. The Weather Channel reports that with an outside temperature of 90 ° F, the interior of a car can reach an incredible 138 ° F in 90 minutes. Therefore, it is not practical to leave medications for a short time in the car. When traveling, keep your medication in the air-conditioned part of the car (not in the trunk) and remember to take your medication with you if you leave your car overnight.
Extreme heat and cold can cause medications to change physically, and these changes can make medications less potent and unsafe for some medications. Particularly susceptible are oral contraceptives and other drugs that contain hormones, because the proteins contained can change their properties when exposed to heat.
Medication labels, whether OTC, are usually recommended to be stored in a cool, dry place and protected from excessive heat and moisture, or might give a specific temperature range, commonly 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). This is an ideal range, but most OTC can even be used after storage at temperatures as low as 32 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 14 degrees Celsius) and as high as 80 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 30 degrees Celsius). Counseling varies, so it is always best to consult a doctor or pharmacist if non-optimal storage has already occurred or is expected.
Traveling With Medications
To regulate temperature, a pharmacist may often recommend a cold compress to keep the medication at the correct temperature. Summer is a travel time for many, and traveling with medicines and contraceptives requires your own precautions. Driving a car can be particularly harmful to medication. Within a short time without air conditioning, the interior of a car can rise up to 50 percent above the outside temperature. Over-the-counter medications are the safest to use while driving, when they are stored in the air-conditioned passenger compartment (not in the trunk) and taken with you when you get out of your car. Air travel also requires caution since luggage compartments have no temperature controlled. Using one of our SateTote Rx locking tote bags makes medicine transportation easier than ever. It’s small size makes it easy to store in air-conditioned compartments of your vehicle and also in your storage bags.
How to Store Medications in Your Vehicle
- Do not place medications in an area of sunlight (especially not in a windowsill).
- Do not store medications in an area of high humidity.
- If possible, store medications in the coolest area of the car.
- Take a minute to see your medications before you take them. If they are trapped in the bottle, if they change shape or form, or if the coating looks different or is “liquid”, the integrity of the medication may be compromised.
- Do NOT store medications in your glove box.
- Store the medication in the original bottles.
- Ask your doctor for a copy of all your prescriptions. You may need this if you lose or damage your medication.
- If you have diabetes, ask your provider for a letter explaining that you have diabetes and provide a list of all your supplies. You are allowed to take your medication, blood glucose meter and puncture device in a car.