ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With more temperatures in the 90s and triple digits expected this week in Albuquerque, a University of New Mexico pharmacy professor is warning people about the heat and its impact on medication.

Storing medicine properly

Amy Bachyrycz, associate professor with UNM College of Pharmacy and Department of Pharmacy Practice, reminds people to not leave their medication in hot or humid places such as inside a car or in the bathroom.

“Medications can overheat too. Leaving your medication in the hot car where you might get increased temperatures can cause negative side effects for some medications, and for other medications, it can cause them to break down the active ingredient so that they don’t work as well,” said Bachyrycz.

The amber vials medication comes in can protect medication from light but not heat. Bachyrycz said it’s important to store medications at room temperature between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It would be best to store your medications in the kitchen cabinet where it’s cool, dry, and at room temperature,” Bachyrycz explained.

If you are receiving your prescription in the mail, Bachyrycz recommends that you ask the pharmacy to use temperature-controlled packing so that you don’t have to worry about the heat impacting the medicine in transit or if it is left outside in the mailbox.

Keeping medicine safe while traveling

If you are traveling with medication in the car, Bachyrycz said there are important steps you can take to protect your medicine.

“If you do have to leave your medication in the hot car, make sure it’s for the shortest amount of time possible. If you can try to park under a shady area, then that would be the best thing to do, but I would really recommend bringing your labeled bottles in with you to whatever errand that you are running,” Bachyrycz said.

When traveling by plane, Bachyrycz said take your medicine on the plane do not leave it in a checked bag.

“It’s always important to have the labeled bottles in a carry-on so that it doesn’t have to be checked with your luggage because you don’t know what temperatures luggage is going to be stored at,” said Bachyrycz.

Drug safety resources

If you are unsure about how to store medication or are concerned about how heat can impact certain medicines, Bachyrycz said to look at the packaging that the drug comes in.

“The information that you get from the pharmacy always has the recommended storage area where you should have your medication stored,” said Bachyrycz.

She also said to contact your pharmacist, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, or the drug manufacturer’s customer service line if you have questions about medication or drug safety. The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center is available 24/7 and can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222.