It’s hot outside and that means your home is probably hotter than normal. Although you probably haven’t given it much thought, those high temperatures can change how effective your prescription medication is. For most ADHD medications, it is recommended that your prescription be stored in an area where the temperature is an average of 77 F. Two commonly prescribed medications list storage requirements in their patient inserts as:
Adderall - “Store Adderall in a safe place at room temperature, 59 to 86 degrees Farenheit”
Ritalin - “Store at 25 C (77 F); excursions permitted to 59 to 86 degrees Farenheit.”
Excursions, as stated in the patient insert for Ritalin refers to short periods of time, such as during shipping. Medications are not expected to be stored in temperatures at either the lower point of 59 degrees or the higher point of 86 degrees for long periods of time. When medication is exposed to extreme temperatures, its effectiveness can decrease.
So, when the temperatures outside start soaring and the temperatures in your house are at or way above “room temperature” how can you make sure your medications remain effective and safe?
Always check your patient insert to see if there are any temperature restrictions, such as the ones above. If there are not, talk with your pharmacist about how you should store your medication.
Find a cool, dry area in your home to keep your medication. Normally, the kitchen and the bathroom are not good choices as the heat and humidity from cooking, showering, etc, can degrade the effectiveness of your medication. If you have air-conditioning only in certain rooms, keep your medication in a drawer in those rooms during the summertime.
If your medication came with a cotton plug, remove it. Leaving it in the bottle can cause moisture in the bottle.
When traveling by airplane, keep your medications with you in your carry-on bags rather than have them sit in your luggage in baggage storage areas.
When traveling by car, keep your medication in the car rather than in the trunk and bring them into the hotel or home you are visiting. Never leave medications in a hot, closed car.
If you experience extended power outages where your medications have been exposed to high temperatures over a long period of time, talk with your pharmacist to see if he recommends replacing your medication.
Check the color and consistency of the medication. If you notice any changes, do not take it.
If you need to replace your medication, before spending additional money for a second prescription, call your insurance company and explain the situation. They may be willing to pay for a second prescription once they understand the circumstances. If your insurance company is not willing to help, try contacting the manufacturer’s customer service line. Some pharmaceutical companies may be willing to supply you with new medication.
“Medication Guide: Adderall XR,” 2010, Shire US Pharmaceuticals
“Ritalin Patient Insert,” Reviewed 2010, Dec, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
“Storing Medicine Safely,” Updaed 2009, March 14, Updated by Linda Vorvick, MD, MedlinePlus, National Institute of Health
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.