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Abacavir compromised by hot temperatures?

Aug 19, 2001

Dear Dr. Cohen, My recent UPS delivery of Abacavir arrived at 4:30 PM on a day that reached 102 degrees here. I immediately opened the box and noticed that the plastic Abacavir bottle felt hot. I am worried that the heat could have effected the potency. What is your opinion? (note - it was "next-day" delivery, so I at least know that the heat exposure was no more than two days). Thanks.

Response from Dr. Cohen

These medications are somewhat vulnerable to prolonged exposure to heat - and what you describe is of some concern. In general heat might cause a breakdown of the active ingredient and this would decrease the potency of the tablets.

In this case the safest thing to do is to contact the pharmacy that ships this to you and describe this to them. They can either look up the degree to which abacavir/ziagen is heat sensitive, or contact the manufacturer. That should lead either to reassurance about what you have, or to another shipment if it didn't work out to be safe. This should be pretty well known since it is Summer and mail order pharmacies should have this info about many if not all meds they ship.

Hope that works out. If not, you can contact the manufacturer directly as well - your clinician who prescribed these meds should be able to help you as well if these other approaches don't work out.

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