A new study by scientists at
University of Otago has revealed that the effectiveness of medicines is reduced
due to poor storage. The undergraduate researchers of School of Pharmacy found that
storing medication in bags, bathrooms or even in luggage on flights can make it
too hot, humid or cold for safe use.
They found that kitchens and bathrooms
were the most popular places for storing medicines where the humidity levels
are high. Excessive humidity could cause chemical degradation or physical changes
affecting the efficacy, safety and appearance of the medicine.
Scientists expressed concern about
storing medicines in bags, especially for proteins like insulin, which is
regularly carried round in backpacks and is likely to degrade within hours at
temperatures above 60 degree centigrade which can be dangerous.
The study also found that the
temperature in cargo holds in planes could dip below freezing point on
international flights which could damage a range of medicines like
emulsions, solutions and proteins. Therefore
pharmacists recommended carrying medicines in the cabin rather than in checked
Generally people tend to store
medicines in a place where they are likely to remember. But it is important to
store them in a place where they will not be degraded by heat, humidity or
cold. People should consult their pharmacist if they were unsure how to store