Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Medications That Need to be Refrigerated
Natalie Soulsby, Director of Clinical Operations and Associate Clinical Director, Ward MM
There appears to be a degree of confusion when it comes to which medications must be stored in the fridge. In most instances, even if the medications do not need to be stored in the fridge they will not come to harm if they are kept in the fridge. However, as we know there is limited fridge space in the medication rooms at residential aged care facilities so where possible only those items that require cold storage should be stored in the fridge. There are certain medications that need to be refrigerated, but can be stored at room temperature once opened for a specific length of time. (provided room temperature is below 25 C). WardMM have a flyer that highlights this however there are some important points to remember:
- The most common item that we find in the fridge that does not need to be there is vitamin B12 injection (hydroxocobalamin).
- Vitamin D powder or liquid that is compounded needs to be refrigerated. However, the commercially manufactured products do not (e.g. Ostelin vitamin D liquid).
- Insulin needs to be stored in the refrigerator, but once it has been opened for use it can be stored at room temperature for up to 28 days – don’t forget to put an expiry date on the penfil.
- Mylanta does not need to be stored in the fridge until it is opened and then it has a 6-month expiry and must be refrigerated.
- Only certain eye drops need to be refrigerated – these are those that contain latanoprost – Xalatan, Xalaprost, Latanacom, Xalacom, Xalamol and chloramphenicol. Again, these do not have to be refrigerated once opened and then have a month’s expiry.
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.