Mail-order medications often exposed to unsafe temperatures, study shows

BETHESDA, Md. (December 10, 2020) — Mail-order prescriptions shipped in standard bubble-padded envelopes during winter and summer months are likely to spend a substantial portion of time outside the recommended safe temperature range for most medications, according to research presented at the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.

“If a medication is stored improperly during the mailing process, and subsequently arrives to the patient altered, either chemically or physically, then patient safety could be at risk,” said Karlee Paloukos, a pharmacy student at University of Utah and researcher on the study. “Patients should be warned of these risks and have the option to fill their prescriptions at a local pharmacy, where temperature storage logs are meticulously tracked to ensure the integrity of the dispensed medications, at the exact same cost.”

Most medications should be stored at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When exposed to temperatures outside this range they can be altered and lose effectiveness.


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