Refrigeration and preservation of medicines

Réfrigération et conservation de médicaments - INTARCON

Refrigeration and preservation of medicines

Did you know that the refrigeration and preservation of medicines is essential to ensure these do not deteriorate?

As we all know, the availability of medicines is of vital importance in our lives, even more in the current situation. What would you do if you needed medicines for you or for your loved ones and could not have access to such medicines?

We are used to having anything we need and when we need it. Many of us have not thought about this, but it is worth stopping for a moment and thinking about this in the global pandemic scenario.

To guarantee the availability of medicines, not only do we need to guarantee that these are manufactured and distributed, but also that they are stored in the optimum refrigeration and/or preservation conditions, both at chemist’s and at hospitals. As an expert in the refrigeration and preservation of all types of products, including medicines, the aim of INTARCON is to offer its know-how and expertise.

What are the optimum refrigeration and preservation conditions for medicines?

Medicines must be stored in a dry area, protected from heat and light, according to the instructions on the packaging, in which we can find three different temperature ranges:

  • Controlled ambient temperature: between 20 and 25°C, although this margin can be temporarily increased with a relative safety up to 30°C. Transient peaks of up to 40°C are allowed, provided that these occur for a maximum of 24 hours.
  • Controlled refrigeration temperature: between 2 and 8°C, although this margin can be temporarily increased with a relative safety up to 15°C, accepting transient peaks of up to 25°C, provided that these occur for a maximum of 24 hours. Medicines that require controlled refrigeration must be stored in the central tray of the refrigeration system. They must not be stored on doors or on the top shelf, since the temperatures could be higher in these places.
  • Freezing temperature: usually between -25 and -15°C, although some medicines might need even lower temperatures.

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What types of refrigeration systems are needed to ensure the proper preservation of medicines?

Three types of refrigeration units are required, according to the temperature range required to preserve medicines:

  • Controlled ambient temperature: these medicines are usually stored in a fresh, dry place, with no need for refrigeration units or, in some cases, the installation of air-conditioning equipment might be required.
  • Controlled refrigeration temperature: to reach and guarantee this temperature range, it is necessary to install medium-temperature refrigeration equipment, which has been expressly designed to maintain temperatures between -5 and +10 °C.
  • Freezing temperature: these require the installation of low-temperature refrigeration equipment, which are designed to maintain temperatures from -25 to -15°C.

Types of rooms and enclosures used for the refrigeration and preservation of medicines

According to the size, there is a wide variety of rooms/enclosures used to store medicines, such as:

  • Industrial units and warehouses
  • Refrigeration chambers
  • Display fridges and cabinets
  • Refrigeration furniture

Guide to selecting units for the refrigeration and preservation of medicines

The units required to guarantee proper refrigeration and preservation of medicines can be easily selected using the refrigeration unit calculation software. The following must be taken into account:

  1. It is necessary to determine the temperature range that must be maintained, according to the type of medicine, since each temperature range will need a different refrigeration unit, as mentioned above.
  2. The type of refrigeration unit will be selected using the table below, according to the temperature range and the type of room/enclosure to refrigerate:
 Industrial units and warehousesRefrigeration
chamber
Display fridges and cabinetsRefrigeration furniture
Controlled ambient temp.
(20°C ÷ 25°C)
Industrial climate control equipmentCommercial climate control equipment
Controlled refrigeration temp.
(2°C ÷ 8°C)
Industrial climate control equipment, medium temperaturesSemi-compact commercial refrigeration equipment, medium temperaturesCondensing unit for commercial refrigeration applications, medium temperaturesBuilt-in refrigeration equipment, medium temperatures
Freezing temp. (-25°C ÷ -15°C)Industrial refrigeration equipment, low temperaturesSemi-compact commercial refrigeration equipment, low temperaturesCondensing unit for commercial refrigeration applications, low temperaturesBuilt-in refrigeration equipment, low temperatures

Installation supervision and control

It is of vital importance to ensure that the cold chain is not interrupted when refrigeration medicines. Therefore, refrigeration equipment can be installed with the cutting-edge kiconex system, which provides an internet connection to the equipment and installations, allowing data to be stored on the cloud.
Through its platform, both the installation company and owner of the installation can access the information remotely to supervise and control the installation. These systems provide data charts in real time and can be used to adjust the installation’s refrigeration parameters and settings.

Technical Advice INTARCON

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