News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Store Medicines Safely In The Heat: NPS Medicinewise


Store Medicines Safely In The Heat: NPS Medicinewise

With a heatwave sweeping the country, NPS MedicineWise is reminding people that extremes in temperature, particularly heat, can impact the effectiveness of medicines.

Clinical adviser at NPS MedicineWise, Dr Philippa Binns, says that extreme temperatures can make it difficult to control the conditions in which medicines are stored but there are strategies that can be used to keep them safe and effective.

“Most medicines need to be stored under 25°C, so if you’re commuting or travelling, preparing for the possibility of bushfire and evacuation, or think your area could experience a temporary loss of electricity, you might need to use a cooler bag, esky or insulated pouch to store your medicines,” says Dr Binns.

Medicines may no longer work properly when stored above the maximum temperature recommended. Some medicines can also change their form in the heat and become difficult to use. For example, gelatin capsules may soften and stick together, ointments and creams may become runny, and suppositories may melt.

“As a general year-round rule, don’t leave medicines in a warm place, such as above the stove or in front of a west-facing window. Rather, find a cool, dry place away from direct heat, moisture and sunlight, and out of the sight and reach of children,” says Dr Binns.

“If you’re driving, don’t store your medicines in the glove box or dashboard, and if you have to take your medicines while out and about, take with you only what you need for the day, and leave the remainder at home.

“The fridge is actually not the best place for some medicines, because it can be too cold and too wet, but there are exceptions.

“Many liquid medicines and injections should in fact be stored in the fridge, but only if the label says so. And when the label says the fridge, this means the main compartment of the fridge — not the freezer. If the medicines do accidentally freeze, check with a pharmacist to make sure they are still usable.”

In addition to thinking about how to store your medicines while travelling, Dr Binns is also reminding people in possible bushfire evacuation zones, or people who might be travelling and affected by road closures, to remember to pack enough medicines and prescriptions to last if they need to be away from home for an unexpected length of time.

“You should also be sure to know the active ingredient in your usual medicines so that you can get the right medicine from a different pharmacy if you need to — and to ensure you don’t double up on doses of the same medicine,” says Dr Binns.

“Also, don't forget to take a complete and up-to-date Medicines List to help you keep track of your medicines and to ensure you always have your medicine details on hand.”

The free NPS Medicines List is available from your pharmacist, as a PDF download from the NPS website, and also as an app on your iPhone. Visit to find out more.

For more information about a medicine including storage conditions, talk to your health professional, read the consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet for your medicine or call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). NPS Medicines Line operates Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news