Space

Study suggests that medicines do not degrade faster in space

Study suggests that medicines ...
The study made use of medicines returned from the International Space Station (ISS), pictured here from the space shuttle Atlantis in November 2009
The study made use of medicines returned from the International Space Station (ISS), pictured here from the space shuttle Atlantis in November 2009
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The study made use of medicines returned from the International Space Station (ISS), pictured here from the space shuttle Atlantis in November 2009
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The study made use of medicines returned from the International Space Station (ISS), pictured here from the space shuttle Atlantis in November 2009

Anew study conducted by Baylor College of Medicine in the US hasprovided the first evidence that medicines aren't negatively affectedby spending time in space. The research looked at samples returnedfrom the International Space Station (ISS), and represents the firststep in a new avenue of study.

Lastmonth, NASA set out a concise road map for a manned mission to Mars – an exceptionally important and hugely exciting endeavour, and onethat requires a monumental degree of planning. If the mission is tobecome a reality, there's a huge amount of research that needs to beconducted to ensure everything goes smoothly, and it's not allheadline studies. Baylor College's new work looks at a small, butpotentially life saving question – that of whether keepingmedicines in space impacts their safety.

Whilethe temperature and humidity observed aboard the ISS would beconsidered optimum for drug storage back on Earth, prior to thisstudy, we've never observed whether factors unique to spaceflight,namely elevated radiation levels and microgravity, have an impact onmedication.

Toanswer that question, a team of researchers from the Center for SpaceMedicine and Department of Pharmacology at Baylor College of Medicineanalyzed a sample of nine medicines – including routine drugs suchas sleeping pills, pain relievers and antihistamines – returned toEarth after residing aboard the space station for 550 days.

Lookingat the conditions of the different pills and comparing them to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) guidelines, the researchers found that four of the ninemedicines were still viable for use a full eight months after hittingtheir expiration date, while one other drug was safe five months pastexpiration. Three other medications were three months from hittingexpiration, and like the other samples, met the USP guidelines. Onlyone drug – a sleeping aid – failed to meet the requirements, butit was a full 11 months past its stated expiration date.

Overall,this strongly suggests that the conditions aboard the ISS do not havea negative impact on the degradation of medication, with the resultsfalling in line with what would be expected had the drugs been storedback on Earth. However, given the small scale, opportunistic natureof the investigation, further study will be required to verify thefinding.

Ifthe information is to benefit future long-term missions, most notablyNASA's planned trip to Mars, a more detailed investigation will benecessary, with data being collected throughout the degradationprocess, not just at the conclusion of the study.

Theresearchers presented the findings of their study in The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal.

Source:AAPS

Anew study conducted by Baylor College of Medicine in the US hasprovided the first evidence that medicines aren't negatively affectedby spending time in space. The research looked at samples returnedfrom the International Space Station (ISS), and represents the firststep in a new avenue of study.

Lastmonth, NASA set out a concise road map for a manned mission to Mars – an exceptionally important and hugely exciting endeavour, and onethat requires a monumental degree of planning. If the mission is tobecome a reality, there's a huge amount of research that needs to beconducted to ensure everything goes smoothly, and it's not allheadline studies. Baylor College's new work looks at a small, butpotentially life saving question – that of whether keepingmedicines in space impacts their safety.

Whilethe temperature and humidity observed aboard the ISS would beconsidered optimum for drug storage back on Earth, prior to thisstudy, we've never observed whether factors unique to spaceflight,namely elevated radiation levels and microgravity, have an impact onmedication.

Toanswer that question, a team of researchers from the Center for SpaceMedicine and Department of Pharmacology at Baylor College of Medicineanalyzed a sample of nine medicines – including routine drugs suchas sleeping pills, pain relievers and antihistamines – returned toEarth after residing aboard the space station for 550 days.

Lookingat the conditions of the different pills and comparing them to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) guidelines, the researchers found that four of the ninemedicines were still viable for use a full eight months after hittingtheir expiration date, while one other drug was safe five months pastexpiration. Three other medications were three months from hittingexpiration, and like the other samples, met the USP guidelines. Onlyone drug – a sleeping aid – failed to meet the requirements, butit was a full 11 months past its stated expiration date.

Overall,this strongly suggests that the conditions aboard the ISS do not havea negative impact on the degradation of medication, with the resultsfalling in line with what would be expected had the drugs been storedback on Earth. However, given the small scale, opportunistic natureof the investigation, further study will be required to verify thefinding.

Ifthe information is to benefit future long-term missions, most notablyNASA's planned trip to Mars, a more detailed investigation will benecessary, with data being collected throughout the degradationprocess, not just at the conclusion of the study.

Theresearchers presented the findings of their study in The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal.

Source:AAPS

2 comments
bobcat4424
I hate to be the one to point out that the ISS is not truly "in space." The ISS is in Very Low Earth Orbit and as such is still within the Earth's gravity and protective magnetosphere. As such the research on medicines is worthless because they do not represent the conditions that one would find on the way to Mars. In fact, there has never been any science done on the ISS that could not have been done better and more cheaply by satellites. This kind of story is intended to make the ISS look like it is doing something worthwhile.
POOL PUMPREAPAIR guy longwood
Shocking, something that lasts longer in zero gravity and in a total vacuum. big surprise ?