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State authorities urge checking medications possibly affected by Sandy power outages

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

If you haven’t already, check with your doctor or physician to be sure certain prescription medications weren’t affected by temperature changes during Hurricane Sandy power outages, state authorities urged this morning.

“This warning is especially important for consumers who rely on emergency medications.  Take the time to check those medicines now, to make sure they will be fully effective when you need them,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, “Do not hesitate to replace any medicines that may have been compromised.  Your health and your life may depend on this simple decision.”

NOTE: The warning doesn’t apply to most medications that are commonly kept in home medicine cabinets.  But it does to certain medications that are sensitive to temperature changes – especially those that must be relied upon to potentially save the patient’s life during an emergency.

For instance:

·        Epinephrine injectors — spring-loaded devices patients use to treat sudden allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock.  Certain products must be stored at room temperature, and should be replaced if exposed to prolonged cold or heat.

·        Nitroglycerin sublingual tablets — used to treat or prevent extreme chest pain due to coronary artery disease.  They must be stored at room temperature and should be replaced if exposed to prolonged temperature changes.

Kanefsky and state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa suggested:

·        Check the package your prescription medication came in, to learn whether the medication is sensitive to prolonged or extreme changes in temperature.

·        If you have concerns about any specific medication and are not sure whether it is sensitive to temperature changes that may have occurred in your home, contact your pharmacist.

·        If any medications in your home were exposed to conditions that can weaken their effectiveness, discard and replace them.  Contact your pharmacist and let them know you will need a refill or replacement.  If necessary, contact your physician for a new prescription or refill.

“Through the State Board of Pharmacy, we have notified all pharmacists in New Jersey of the need to dispose of any temperature-sensitive medications that may have lost their effectiveness during blackouts caused by Hurricane Sandy,”  Chiesa said. “We are extending the same warning to consumers.

“If you have concerns about any prescription medication in your home, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.  Replace any medications that were exposed to temperatures beyond those recommended by the manufacturer.”

Don’t throw unused meds in the trash or in the toilet.

Project Medicine Drop, an initiative of the Division of Consumer Affairs, enables New Jerseyans to safely and securely dispose of unused prescription medications 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at participating police departments.

SEE: Drug take-back program to expand at state level

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