WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The effectiveness of drugs can be destroyed by fire, flooding or unsafe water during a natural disaster, U.S. government officials said.
Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a disaster, it is especially important to assure the effectiveness of lifesaving drugs, so these should be replaced as soon as possible. However, if the lifesaving medication in its container looks normal, the medication could be used until a replacement is available, officials said.
"Drugs -- pills, oral liquids, drugs for injection, inhalers, skin medications -- exposed to flood or unsafe municipal water may become contaminated and could lead to diseases that can cause serious health effects," FDA officials said in a statement. "We recommend that drug products -- even those in their original containers -- should be discarded if they have come into contact with flood or contaminated water. In the ideal setting, capsules, tablets, and liquids in drug containers with screw-top caps, snap lids, or droppers, should be discarded if they are contaminated."
In addition, medications that have been placed in any alternative storage containers should be discarded if they have come in contact with flood or contaminated water, the FDA said.
For lifesaving drugs, if the container is contaminated but the contents appear unaffected -- if the pills are dry -- the pills may be used until a replacement can be obtained. However, if a pill is wet, it is contaminated and should be discarded, the officials said.
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