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Will a Viagra pill go bad if I keep it in my pocket for too long?
August 13, 2014 6:31 AM   Subscribe

I know that some medicines break down when they reach a certain temperature. Will a Viagra pill lose its potency (ha ha) if I keep it in my pocket for too long? If so, how long can I keep the same pill in my pocket before it goes bad?

I usually keep a Viagra pill in the little pocket (I think it's call the watch pocket) of my jeans, just in case I need it. I know that some medicines will break down when they reach a certain temperature. How long can I keep the same Viagra pill in my pocket before the medicine loses its effectiveness? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
 
This is not medical advice, this is not pharmaceutical advice. This is what I would do in this set of circumstances.

Possibly. Viagra info.

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture.

I'd get a small opaque pill case for it.

From my understanding (friend in the pharma industry), depending on how far away you get from room temperature (between 60 and 78 degrees) this method of keeping can accelerate the degradation. Most pills have a "shelf life" under optimal conditions of about a year, but that is a conservative estimate required by the FDA. It cannot lose more than either 2% or 10% of effectiveness within the year to pass, IIRC.

In your pocket, open to moisture levels, that can drop. Maybe months? If you don't want a pill box, then an opaque bag. Most pill bags are clear, but color it with a marker to make it dark?

I personally carry my daily meds in their original bottles in a dark bag in my purse, and a small pill case of extras in a pocket.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:41 AM on August 13


Moisture is probably more of a factor here than temperature. As soon as you get sweaty or rained on it may start breaking down.

You probably should consider either keeping it in a pill case in your pocket or a key chain pill case.

Your pharmacist may also be able to blister pack your prescription for you.
posted by Jahaza at 6:45 AM on August 13


My observation is that the Viagra tablet is pretty tough. I'd worry most about moisture, and second the thought of a small pill case.

I wouldn't worry too much about losing a bit of potency. The dosage is very approximate. Lots of men, including me, cut the costly devils in two or four.

My doctor switched me to Cialis, and I have to say I prefer it. It seems to have a much wider window of effectiveness. He gave me the prescription for a free trial of the daily use dosage. Instead of taking it every day, he said to take 2, 3 or 4 as needed for a one-off (ha ha) use.

(This is my cardiologist's advice to me, not my advice to you.)
posted by SemiSalt at 7:00 AM on August 13


Nthing the advice that moisture is more likely a problem, and to consider getting a little pill case.

Also adding the observation that keeping it in your watch pocket means you could get lint on the pill, which may not affect the potency but would be a temporarily unpleasant experience for you when you do finally take it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on August 13


I have no scientific knowledge about pill degregation so what I would do is try it. I would keep two pills in my pocket. One, I would not use for say two months or longer. The other use as needed. After a sufficiently long time, at a time when effectiveness is not critical, try it. Granted, this is a small sample size, etc, but you will find out some information.
posted by 724A at 7:19 AM on August 13


There are these tiny little metal bullet-looking things that you can hang on your dog's collar, and when you unscrew the tiny top there is a little tube where you write down your name and number in case the dog gets lost. Tl;dr get one and keep it on your keyring, it doesn't look like a tiny pillbox for a single pill, which would be really weird to carry. Moisture doesn't get in, my dog went swimming with his on all the time. If you don't want it on your keyring it will also fit easily in the pocket you are already using.
posted by elizardbits at 7:21 AM on August 13


The keychain pill case that Jahaza links to is what my father uses for his heart medication. He keeps it with his house/car keys. Small, and works well to safeguard important medication.
posted by gudrun at 7:28 AM on August 13


For the finished product stored in the proposed packaging materials, long-term stability studies havebeen carried out at different temperatures and conditions (25ºC/60%RH, 30ºC/60%RH, 40ºC/75%RH) on batches resulting from Brooklyn (clear coated) up to 9 months, from Amboise (clear coated) up to 6 months and up to 12 months (non clear coated). Based on the resulting data, a 2-years shelf life is acceptable when the product is stored below 30º.

I can't find the results of any of the stability studies, but my wild guess is months if you kept it in a sealed blister package. (Given that nobody seems to be able to find 'bad' degradation products ... )
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:26 AM on August 13


It's not like it stays at 100% potency and then one day all of a sudden it stops working completely, it gradually loses potency after some period of time. I strongly suspect you could keep it in your pocket for a couple years and it'd still work. Get a little pill case or something to protect it from moisture and then don't worry about it.
posted by Justinian at 9:46 PM on August 13


Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if it retained decent potency after a decade if you kept it in a pill case and didn't leave it sitting in 100+ degree heart.
posted by Justinian at 9:48 PM on August 13


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