Tracking your meds is critical for medications that must be nearby when needed and that must stay within a range of temperatures to maintain efficacy. Critical life saving meds such as epinephrine auto injectors, asthma inhalers, diabetes medications, and others need to be temperature controlled and kept close at hand to prevent life threatening episodes. Tracking becomes even more important if you are a parent with children who may require emergency medications even when you are not around.
These critical medications can lose their potency when the temperature fluctuates significantly. Epinephrine for example can lose up to 65% of its efficacy if exposed to repeated heating and cooling events. During an anaphylactic shock episode, using a dosage like this could be catastrophic.
Life Can Get in the Way
It is even more important that the medication is near when you need it. Normal life events sometimes lead to medication being forgotten, left at home or in a classroom, or at a friends house again potentially leading to tragic results.
Here is a checklist from Pharmacy Times to help you ensure your meds are maintained properly. It’s from Dan Katzki, COO of ReadyCare. Great job Dan. We agree it is complicated to figure this stuff out.
- Know the safe temperature storage range for each of your medications. Check the documentation that comes with your medication so that you know any temperature restrictions for it.
- Store medications in cool dark areas of the house. Do not place medications near a window in the sunlight.
- Medications that should be refrigerated should be kept between 36° and 46°F at all times. One critical problem is that all places in a refrigerator are not the same temperature. So, for example, make sure your insulin is not put in an area of the Frig where it might freeze.
- For mail order medications, be sure the medication is not left in the mailbox for more than a day. It can get above 140°F in a mailbox on a hot summer day. Although good mail order pharmacies puts in enough ice and insulation to account for a day of heat, it will not maintain medication temperature for several days.
- When driving, keep your medication in the climate-controlled interior of the car, not the trunk.
- When parked, do not keep your medication inside a hot car; it can also get above 140°F inside a parked car.
- When flying, never pack medications in check-in luggage. Always keep your medication in your carry-on bag.
- If you need to carry your medication with you (traveling or just during the length of the day), use a medication cooler.
- Inspect your medications before you take them. If they have any change in form, if the coating appears different, or if the pills are stuck together, the integrity of the medication is likely compromised. If insulin or epinephrine is cloudy, it is compromised. Note that even with no change in appearance medication may be compromised.
Technology Can Help Keep Your Meds Safe
While this checklist and a lot of diligence on your part really helps prevent serious medication issues, iit really is not ideal. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to be warned about temperature and proximity events before they become issues? With this in mind, the team at Lab Sensor Solutions created Track Our Meds™(ToM™).
ToM makes it easy to be reminded when critical medications are inadvertently left behind, or were not kept at the right temperature. ToM does this when you are on the go or just sitting in your home. Or if you are a parent just check the App to confirm that your child has the critical medication with them. Better yet, an automated alert lets you know when the medication is not close by your child or is outside the temperature range. ToM is ready to use with a variety of medications including oral medications, auto-injectors, inhalers and others. ToM comes with everything you need, including a carefully designed carrying case for your medication. The case has a sensor built into it. A downloadable app for your phone completes the package.