Mon Feb 18, 2019 | 19:41
Drugs not effective in space: Study
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 18:20:53 GMT
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Scientists have found that the continuous doses of radiation onboard spacecrafts do not let drugs have their intended effects on astronauts.

According to the study published in the AAPS Journal, longer missions have increased the need for drugs in space but their normal effectiveness is doubted.

A research team from the Johnson Space Center conducted a study to see if radiation, excessive vibrations, microgravity, a carbon dioxide rich environment and variations in humidity and temperature affected drugs' effectiveness in space.

Medication on Earth can usually be kept for a couple years from the manufacture date and they need to be in precise conditions, such as away from direct sunlight or in a cool, dry space.

Scientists sent four boxes of drugs, containing 35 different medications to the International Space Station (ISS), while four identical packages were kept in controlled conditions at the Johnson Space Center.

The boxes spent different periods of time in space and were returned to be tested, the state-funded BBC reported.

"A number of formulations tested had a lower potency after storage in space with consistently higher numbers of formulations failing United States Pharmacopeia potency requirement after each storage period interval in space than on Earth,” scientists wrote in their report.

"This reduction in potency of flight samples occurred sooner than the labeled expiration date for many formulations suggesting that storage conditions unique to the spacecraft environment may influence stability of pharmaceuticals in space."

According to Dr. Colin Cable, science information adviser at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, "On Earth, medicines are tested to assess the effects of, for example, temperature, moisture, oxygen and light, and are packaged and stored to ensure they remain stable and effective over their shelf life.

"Repackaging of medicines into containers that do not give the medicines the protection required to moisture, oxygen and light can have a detrimental effect on their stability."

He also said that radiation affected medicines, depending on the dose used.

"One potential benefit of keeping medicines in a Space Station is that the medicines will be exposed to a carbon dioxide-rich environment, this may help minimize the degradation of those medicines prone to oxidation, such as adrenaline, vitamin C and vitamin A."

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