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Author Topic: How do you store your paracetamol?  (Read 17458 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« on: September 27, 2010, 09:46:26 am »

Paracetamol is a common pain reliever that both the young and old use. However, experts warn that its improper storage can make it to absorb moisture, thus reducing its potency, reports Sade Oguntola.
Millions of people worldwide will take paracetamol today, unaware that the effectiveness of the medicine whether for headache or reduction in body temperature is greatly affected by its storage.
With thousands using drugs like paracetamol for mild and moderate pain and persistent fever, it has become a very real concern that people do not mistakenly put their health and well-being at risk.
Paracetamol belongs to a group of drugs known as Non-opioid analgesics, and has been around for quite some time. The advantage paracetamol has is that it does not upset the stomach or cause bleeding problems. It is available without prescription and is also suitable for children. Paracetamol is quite safe to use as long as the enclosed directions for use are observed.
Nevertheless, poor handling of paracetamol has great implications on its effectiveness as a pain relieving medicine. When it is not stored in a well closed, light resistant container, it absorbs moisture because it is hygroscopic in nature, thus making it less potent as a painkiller.
This has great implications on its effectiveness as a pain relieving medicine. Moreso, a report on the effect of excess moisture content on paracetamol efficacy by Bello H.O at the Second UNIBADAN conference of Biomedical Research, called for caution on how the public handles the medicine.
The finding of this study, which had small quantities of paracetamol exposed to different amounts of moisture, indicated that increase in its moisture content leads to decrease in the potency of paracetamol because its active ingredient disintegrates.
The researcher wrote, “ patients and the general public should be enlightened on the use of silica gel that is placed inside the container by the manufactures and also unnecessary exposing of the tablets should discouraged since it decrease the potency of the drug.”
Most drugs clearly show on their label that they should be stored under certain temperature range.
Research indicated that certain drugs, particularly those with gelatin capsules or containing powder, are especially vulnerable to excessive temperatures above room temperature. Controlled room temperature is defined as the usual and customary working environment of between 68 and 77 degrees F with brief deviations between 59 and 86 degrees F.
And there is good reason for these restrictions because as temperatures deviate outside that recommended, the potency and stability of many medicines will start to break down and render them less effective for treatment of an ailment.
Meanwhile, buying paracetamol sold in blister packs is still safe provided this is intact. A 1994 study on the effect of temperature and humidity on the disintegration time of packaged paracetamol tablet formulations in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Science attested to this fact.
The study, which spanned over a six-month period indicated that  since packaging paracetamol in blister  packs cause relatively less changes in its disintegration time, it would still be effective if used before the indicated expiry date on its packaging.
Meanwhile, manufacturer of paracetamol specify that it should be stored in a well closed, light resistant container.
Mr. Adeyinka Ishola, Vice Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Oyo State, explaining why storage affects the efficacy of many drugs, declared that at high temperature of storage, dissolubility and disintegration rates is altered. According to him, parameters such as   dissolubility and disintegration rates used in predicting the efficacy of a medicine are seriuosly altered.
“When the temperature of storage is too high, dissolution of the medicine would be affected and so the expected therapeutic level of the drug in the body would not be attained.
He said, where a medicine is not properly affected; its expiry date would be affected because its efficacy had reduced. The potency of any drug taken after its expiry date is reduced.
“That is why drugs are packed and the ideal storage conditions specified –the temperature of storage, whether it should be stored in the refrigerator or on the shelf, so that it does not disintegrate fast.
Mr. Ishola declared that many people are unaware that paracetamol even where dispensed over the counter into drug sachets should be used for a maximum of three days.
He declared that the efficacy of paracetamol served in drug sachets, as it is the practice in some hospitals, once it exceeds three days cannot be guaranteed because of poor storage.
Nonetheless, medication must be stored appropriately. This is usually in a cool environment, out of direct sunlight. It is advisable to check specific storage recommendations on each type of drug a person is buying.
Although some people store their medications in the bathroom, this popular spot is actually one of the worst places to keep medicine. Bathroom cabinets tend to be warm and humid, an environment that speeds up a drug’s break down process.
This is especially true for tablets and capsules. Unnecessary exposure to heat and moisture can cause them to lose their potency prior to their labeled expiration date. For example, a warm, muggy environment can cause aspirin tablets to break down into acetic acid (vinegar) and salicylic acid, both of which are potential stomach irritants.
If medicines are to be stored in a kitchen, store them away from the stove, sink, and any heat-releasing appliances. Instead, keep medicines in a cool, dry place and out of a child’s reach.
In rare cases, medicine that is improperly stored can actually become toxic.
To prevent danger, follow these tips:
•Always store drugs out of the reach of children.
•Don’t leave the cotton plug in a medication bottle. Doing so can draw moisture into the container.
•Check the expiration date each time you take a drug. Throw out and replace any medications that are out of date.
•Never use a medication that has changed colour, consistency, or odour, regardless of the expiration date. Throw away capsules or tablets that stick together, are harder or softer than normal, or cracked or chipped.
•Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions. Never repackage them.
•Never leave medicines in an automobile, where heat can rapidly destroy the drug.
•Examine all medicine sent to you and inspect for visible clumping or any other distorted appearance.
•Also pay attention to any unusual symptoms you might be experiencing, which could indicate that your medication is not working properly.
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Chances favours the trained minds
Newest Bioscientist
Posts: 1

« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 02:36:16 am »

Is it really safe to take Paracetamol as pain killer for 16 yrs old person?

« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 02:40:37 am by greg5case » Logged
Francis Umeoguaju
Expert in Bioscience Issues
Posts: 657

« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 03:17:46 am »

As long as one adheres to the recommended dose, it is safe. but it is most effective for mild and moderate pains. it could lead to liver failure if it is abused by taking large un recommended doses of it

Chances favours the trained minds
Newest Bioscientist
Posts: 1

« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 03:24:35 am »

Francis, thank's for that reminders. I should keep my medicines like  paracetamol in a good place.Wink (
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