Have you ever come home after a tough day of work with a headache? Where is the first place you go? If you are like most people, it is the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, the drug storage of every home. That is where most keep their aspirin, ibuprofen and prescription drugs. What if I told you that storing drugs in the medicine cabinet is the worst thing you can do? Most people think that I am wrong since the drugs are stored in a medicine cabinet. Why else would it be called a medicine cabinet? Well I am going to tell you two things that alter or affect all drugs mainly tablets, capsules or gel caps: heat and humidity.
Now the light bulb just turned on in your head. The bathroom is the center of heat and humidity in the house. Every time you take a shower, humidity increases in the bathroom and if you take a nice hot shower then it’s a double negative. The heat and moisture from our daily showers affect the containers and the medication itself.
How Heat Works in Drug Storage
Whenever you bring home a container containing prescription or over the counter drugs either from a pharmacy or your favorite food market, it comes nicely sealed. Those containers are designed to hold their composure at room temperature which is 25ºC or 77ºF. Now, when heat is applied to objects – and that could happen in drug storage – the object expands slightly, but just enough to create a tiny opening in the container’s seal. Now the heat will also expand the size of the tablet ever so slightly. The possibility exists that the excess heat also will alter the active ingredient and changes its chemical structure. What this does is it reduces the effectiveness of the drug. Now, one hot day will not affect it critically but 6 months of hot temperatures will begin to affect drugs.
The One, Two Punch
Now that we have established that heat expands the container, and that tight seal is no longer tight, now what? Well, with moisture going (humidity) in, that moisture loves drugs just like an alcoholic would love free beer. That combined one two punch will begin to alter the chemical structure of the active ingredient in the drug over time. You see, tablets like to stay dry. If they are in contact with humidity, they start to swell, crack and even stick to one another. That is just not good for you. When that happens, the possibility exists of getting allergic reactions in some cases. More serious effects are doubtful. In most cases, your headache will just take longer to go away. So keep your prescription drugs safe and away from the medicine cabinet.