Left My Birth Control In A Hot Car

In this article, we answer a reader question regarding what to do after leaving birth control medication in a hot car.

Left My Birth Control In A Hot Car
Oct 29, 2017

Concerned girl asked

Hi, I am on the Yasmin contraceptive pill. I have stored my pill in my car for the last two days in a makeup bag. Temperatures outside have reaches 30 degrees Celsius. This is the start of a new pack as I had just finished the white sugar tablets. I have taken the pill as normal for the last two days (first two days of light yellow tablets) and haven't noticed any physical changes to the pill.
I have also been sexually active during this time and are now concerned the effectiveness of the pill may have been compromised. What should I do?

Answer

Storing a prescription medication (such as Yasmin) outside of the manufacturers recommended storage conditions can be problematic.

The drug could lose stability, potency and the integrity of the dosage form could be compromised. With birth control pills, we are especially concerned about a potential loss in therapeutic effect.

Per the manufacturer, Yasmin must be stored as follows:

  • Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. 


Yasmin Storage

From your question, you say the medication was left in a car at 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

That is right at the end of the "excursion" range given by the manufacturer. An excursion is defined as removal from the set storage conditions for no longer than 24 hours. 

The problem with your situation is that the medication was left in a car.

More likely than not, the temperature in the car was much higher than the temperature outside, putting the medication well outside the storage range.

Due to this, it is hard to know the exact state of your medication and give you a good recommendation on exactly what you should do in this situation.

It is important to note that when it comes to non-refrigerated solid oral dosage forms such as tablets or capsules, storage conditions are set with more concern to the integrity of the actual product (e.g. capsules melting) rather than a loss of stability to the actual drug.

In fact, many studies on stability have shown that most products that experience temperature excursions for a short period of time will be minimally affected and will still provide a therapeutic benefit.

This is especially true of medications that are not refrigerated.

If your medication was affected by the temperature, we may expect a loss in potency and for you to experience certain side effects such as spotting and bleeding as a result.

The fact that you are not may be a good sign. 

There is some ambiguity in the situation and we just don't know the state of your birth control. It more likely than not is not affected to the point where it has a noticeable loss of therapeutic effect.

For peace of mind however, you may want to use a back up birth control method, take emergency contraception or talk to your doctor about starting a new pack of birth control pills. Your doctor may also give you a recommendation on your best course of action.

Ready for a more personal experience with your meds?