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Effectiveness of Mail Order Prescriptions During Extreme Weather


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Mail ordering prescriptions is a convenient way for people to get the medications they need, but research has shown that some medications commonly mailed to patients can change when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

It’s a problem that insurance companies and the companies that ship those medications are well aware of.

“It’s very important to know that these companies go to great lengths in their packaging so that these types of things don’t happen,” explained Gary Kerr, Chief Pharmacy Officer at Baystate Medical Center.

Common liquid medications like insulin can be at risk in freezing temperatures like the ones we’ve experienced this winter. And come summertime, hot cars and mailboxes may put asthma medications at risk.

Though many prescriptions are not effected by extreme heat, cold or humidity, there is still a chance that the weather can effect their potency. Patients should be aware that it’s their responsibility to notice any changes in the medications that they receive.

“In the bitter cold, folks always should be tuned into crystallization, any liquid that’s coming to your house, if it’s exposed to freezing temperatures and crystallizes, you really shouldn’t use it without talking to someone,” said Kerr.

Patients should also report any medications that seem discolored or have a change in their usual texture to their provider or a pharmacist before using them. And if you are expecting a delivery of medications, try to be home so that the package isn’t sitting out in the elements for an extended period of time.

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