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Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 8:23am

Can the temperature inside your mailbox affect your mail-order prescription medications?

Have you ever considered how the temperature inside your mailbox could affect your mail order prescription medications? Most medications have specific warning labels about temperature.

Meet 34-year-old Scott Harper. Scott's dilemma: his mailbox, sweltering Texas temps, and mail order prescriptions. One expert with Texas Tech's pharmacy school says it adds up to potential trouble.

Amie Blaszczyk of Texas Tech Pharmacy School says "I would definitely encourage people who are receiving these medicines to inspect their medicines as much as possible."

Pharmacist Wayne McMeans says "the average room temperature is what most products are listed at, to be stored"

Ok so that would be. Around 74 degrees?

Patient Scott Harper says "definitely not the environment of my mailbox"

Scott takes Losartin for blood pressure, Vytorin for his cholesterol and Ambien for sleep. His shipper? Caremark.

On a recent doctor's visit he complained his Ambien didn't seem to work.

Scott says "and they asked me how long they sat in the mail before I would get a chance to get them."

The answer sometimes hours.

Scott says "they went ahead and upped the dosage, told me if i could, not to leave them in the mailbox at all."

Amie Blaszczyk says "the postal service is just dropping these medications off on front porches or mailboxes, lot of times you have temps that are really really high."

Many bottles have fine print saying "store at 20-25 degrees celsius and 68-77 degrees fahrenheit." Others say "store at 77 degrees, with excursions permitted between 59-86 degrees fahrenheit."

But what is an excursion? The amount of time's unclear. Scott says his doctor believed the heat damaged his pills.

Scott says "they had seen in the past that some people had reported they don't seem as effective."

As for the temperature at 5pm? And he checked for us again. As for heat related problems, Scott's shipper Caremark we have not seen a dramatic increase in the amount of returns because of damage caused by heat.

Shipper prescription solutions says drug makers just don't know.

Randall Correia, Prescription Solutions/OptumRX, says "whenever you ask a pharmaceutical company to say what is five hours at 110 degrees gonna do with your product, they don't have specific tests around that"

But he adds "it's highly unlikely that all the medications would become ineffective if they were exposed to heat for a short period of time"

Some of the best advice get your prescriptions the minute they hit your mailbox or see if you can pick up your 90 day supplies directly from the pharmacy. It's an option Caremark, for one, offers it's participants.

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