According to NPS Medicines Line, some medicines lose their effectiveness when they’re stored above a certain temperature, so as another heatwave sweeps the country, be aware of how to store and transport medicines.

Sarah Spagnardi, pharmacist and manager of NPS Medicine Line, says that medicines should be stored away from heat, moisture and sunlight this time of year.

“But to make this a little more complicated, they shouldn’t be stored in the fridge either, unless the label says so,” says Spagnardi.

“Most should be stored below 25°C or 30°C. Don’t leave them in a warm place, such as above the stove or in front of a west-facing window, and definitely not on the car dashboard.

If overheated, they can change form and lose their effectiveness. For example, gelatin capsules may soften and stick together, ointments and creams may become runny and suppositories may melt.

If you’re on the go, consider taking with you only what you need for the day, and leave the remainder at home. Medicines normally kept in the fridge can be put in a small esky or insulated lunchbox, which will help keep them as cool and dry as possible,” says Spagnardi.

“A frozen cold pack may reduce the temperature of the medicine to below its recommended storage temperature, or freeze the medicine, so these aren’t actually recommended.”

Key points for keeping your medicines cool this summer:

“One more safety tip: if you’re moving medicines out of their normal safe storage place, do remember to keep them out of reach of any children in your care.”

People are encouraged to read the medicine label or the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet for storage instructions, talk to their pharmacist if they have any questions, or phone NPS Medicines Line.

If you are concerned about your prescriptions or would like more information, please call 1300 MEDICINE.