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Yikes, your mail-order prescriptions have been sitting in shockingly hot and cold temperatures

Those 90-day mail order prescriptions might not be such a great deal after all: A new study by an intrepid Utah pharmacy student just suggested that your mail order prescriptions are definitely spending time in too-hot or too-cold temperatures en route to your door. So much time.

The numbers are comically bad: The study found that during the winter, packages spend 68-87% of their time in conditions outside the medications’ ideal range, and 27-54% of the time during the summer. Most medications are purposely formulated to be stored at room temperature, around 68-77 degrees F. All of the packages in the study fell outside that range during their travels: One Chicago package plummeted to 23 degrees F; a Tucson package reached 116 degrees F.

This is problematic, because hot and cold temperatures can alter medications chemically or physically, which can in turn change their efficacy and safety, says researcher Karlee Paloukos, a pharmacy graduate student at the University of Utah, who presented her study at the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting.

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