Guidelines for Proper Storage of Medicines, Vaccines, & Other Drugs

Medical supplies like vaccines and enzymes have a very restricted shelf life. They necessitate very careful handling and storage to keep their biological efficacy and viability. Lab refrigerators address these concerns by providing a stable temperature and controlled environment for the storage of a wide range of medical supplies.

Not all antibiotics and drugs require refrigeration. Some of these are Amoxicillin, Ceftin, Zithromax, Suprax, etc. All medication bottles have very specific information regarding their storage pasted on them known as auxiliary labels. Lab personnel must read these labels carefully and not presume that all liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated. Liquid antibiotics belong to a category of medical supplies that are suspension-based. The drug Biaxin is an example of a suspension-based antibiotic. It loses its medicinal properties when it is refrigerated. Other drugs like Dalacin-C solidify and it becomes difficult to discharge them from the bottle. Some drugs like Cefaclor, Pediazole, Cefzil and Cephalexin can be left unrefrigerated for a twenty-four hour period.

These liquid antibiotics undergo molecular breakdown if they are stored between thirty-five to forty-six degrees Fahrenheit. This is the typical temperature range that most cooling units are set to.

While other liquid drugs like insulin, drugs prescribed to multiple sclerosis patients, and nitroglycerin used for medicinal purposes like vasodilatation also have to be refrigerated. The strength and potency of the drugs are maintained only if they are stored at certain specified temperatures.

No antibiotic, vaccine or drug must be used beyond its expiration date. Furthermore, if power interruption occurs, medical supplies that require refrigeration round the clock must be disposed of right away. These should never be dispensed as a lot of these drugs and antibiotics are vital life savers. It is best to wait till the next shipment of drugs arrives, so the lab is stocked with fresh medical supplies. It is never worth the risk to presume that all drugs, medicines and antibiotics preserve their native state in the absence of continuous storage in the laboratory refrigerator or freezer.

Vaccines that not refrigerated or which are left in outside at room temperature should not be administered. They must always be stored either to the refrigerator or freezer, based on their storage temperature specifications. Some vaccines need storage at 4 to six degrees Celsius for their activity while others are viable only at five degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius). Reconstituted and unrefrigerated vaccines should be thrown out.

Laboratory refrigerators aid in the long-term storage of all medical supplies. All biologically active and temperature-sensitive substances can be stored for years together without any hassle. These refrigerators ensure that the microcidal properties of the antibiotics and the pharmacological properties of the drugs are retained throughout the storage process. It is advisable that only FDA compliant refrigeration systems be bought and installed in the lab.

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