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Mail-order drugs exposed to extreme heat become less effective

iptions have become increasingly popular among patients in the last few years. However, many patients do not realize that most medications have storage requirements regarding exposure to excessive temperatures," said study coauthor Richard A. Robbins, MD, FCCP, Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "We strongly advise that patients avoid exposing medications to the extreme heat found in mailboxes and car interiors and inspect all mail-order medications prior to consumption." According to researchers, asthma medications and other prescriptions delivered in the extreme-heat states of the Southwest are not the only medications at risk. Any situation that exposes a drug, particularly those with gelatin capsules or containing powder, to excessive temperatures may put a patient at risk for consuming altered medication.

In 2003, mail order represented an estimated 17 percent of retail prescription drug sales in the United States, totaling more than $35 billion in sales and an increase of more than 15 percent from sales in 2002.

"With the increasing popularity of ordering medications by mail, retailers who fill prescriptions by mail must place additional focus on the proper packaging and shipping requirements for at-risk medications," said Paul A. Kvale, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "It also is important for patients to review manufacturer storage directions to ensure that medications are not exposed to extreme temperatures, either inside or outside the home."


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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarz@chestnet.org
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
27-Oct-2004


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