How do cold medicine pills work

This will help you get through the summer with your medication

In fact, drugs also need to be protected from heat. Because at high temperatures, pills etc. can change or lose their effect. And most of them unfortunately cannot be seen from the outside of the heat damage. However, not all medicines are equally sensitive to temperature.

Tablets are the most resistant

Solid dosage forms such as tablets and coated tablets are the most resistant. Stored in the medicine cabinet at home, they will survive a summer of the century. Temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees are ideal, but it can also be a little warmer for a short time. A tablet can withstand an ambient temperature of 50 degrees for around 30 minutes. Then it becomes critical and the concentration of the active substance decreases.

Caution sensitive to heat

Drugs with a soft and liquid consistency such as suppositories, creams, ointments, juices and solutions, on the other hand, are much more sensitive to heat. Suppositories, for example, can melt, while ointments can separate the liquid from the solid. If you notice such changes, dispose of the funds immediately. Active substance patches and sprays are also very sensitive to heat. For example, if asthma sprays are stored in the sun, the dosage accuracy and effectiveness can change.

Store in a cool, but not too cold, place generally applies to all medicines.

Regardless of whether it is solid or liquid, sprayed or swallowed: Store in a cool, but not too cold place, basically applies to all medicines. Do not get your attic apartment below 35 degrees, look for a dry place in the refrigerator or basement, but never leave your medication in the parked car - not even for a short time. On sunny days, 70 degrees Celsius can be reached in no time. A tip for a holiday trip by car or train: Pack your medication in a cooler bag, but please do not put it directly on the ice packs, as frosty temperatures can also change the effect. Freezer compartments or the hold of aircraft are also taboo for medication. For example, insulin could freeze and become ineffective.

Be sure to cool

Incidentally, insulin is one of the drugs that should be kept in the refrigerator all year round. Vaccines, biologicals against rheumatism and other medicinal products based on protein, as well as many herbal remedies, also have to be permanently refrigerated. Whether a drug has to be refrigerated - i.e. has to be stored at around 8 degrees - is stated on the packaging. You should strictly follow these instructions.

Medicines can affect the body's thermoregulation

However, the effectiveness of medication is not only influenced by how it is stored. The human body also changes in heat and sun: If it is heated too much, it releases the heat through the skin and increases sweating. However, certain drugs can affect this important regulatory mechanism by reducing sweating or increasing heat production.

Thyroid hormone preparations, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, anticholinergics, atropine and hyoscyamine represent a greater or lesser risk of hyperthermia - that is, overheating of the body. If you take preparations from these groups of active substances and you get a fever, see a doctor immediately.

Seek medical advice

You should also seek medical advice if you are taking medication for high blood pressure such as ACE inhibitors, sartans or calcium channel blockers, as well as water tablets, so-called diuretics. With these cardiovascular drugs, the dose has to be reduced very often in summer. Heat increases the blood pressure lowering and dehydrating effect. Dizziness, circulatory problems up to confusion and short-term loss of consciousness can be the result. Dehydration can also lead to acute kidney failure.

Elderly people in particular are at risk, as they often cannot compensate for a threatening loss of fluids and electrolytes by drinking more.

Interactions with the sun

In addition to the heat, there are also a number of interactions with the sun. Some medications can make the skin so sensitive to light that it causes sunburn and severe skin irritation. The so-called phototoxic reaction is caused by some antibiotics, such as doxycycline. But also anti-inflammatory drugs such as azapropazone, diuretic drugs such as furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide, heart drugs such as amiodarone and the mood-enhancing St. John's wort do not get along with the sun.

If in doubt, take a closer look at the package insert. And before stopping any medication on your own, ask your doctor or pharmacist.