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Medications can overheat, too, doctors warn

With record-breaking temperatures continuing to plague the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, doctors are reminding patients to keep an eye on their medications, as they, too, can be adversely affected by excessive heat.

People in cities like Chicago, which is expected to see its fourth straight day of 100-degree temps this weekend, should make sure to store their prescriptions in cool places to prevent them from overheating. From MedPage Today:

The U.S. Pharmacopeia, a medication standards agency, states that drugs generally should be stored at room temperature -- between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit -- with only brief excursions to temps as low as 59 degrees or as high as 86 degrees.

Above or below that, there's no guarantee medications will work, the agency says.

Robert Glatter, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says that patients need to also take caution with taking certain medications, particularly ones that may increase dehydration and impact the body’s cooling:

Topping that list is blood pressure medications, especially beta-blockers like metoprolol (Toprol), which impact cooling through its effects on slowing heart rate, Glatter said.

Seizure medications and antihistamines like Claritin and Benadryl, as well as Parkinson's disease medications, also work to inhibit sweat production.

And diuretics, which sop up extra water in the body, are among the top drugs that lead to dehydration, Glatter added.

Patients on any of these medications "need to drink additional fluids and stay out of the sun as much as possible," he said.

Previously: Report shows over 60 percent of Americans don’t follow doctors’ orders in taking prescription meds, Number of heat waves will grow in coming decades and East Coast heat wave: How the sun can kill
Photo by Gregg O'Connell

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