Storage of Allergenic Extracts
In light of the recent hurricane that impacted most of the Atlantic states, we thought it would be good to review some basic guidelines on the stability of your allergenic extracts following situations when your extracts are exposed to temperatures outside of refrigeration.
The product labeling for allergenic extracts recommends that the products be stored refrigerated at 2 – 8°C (or 35 – 46°F). During typical use in the clinic, the allergenic extracts may be taken in and out of the refrigerator, sometimes for hours at a time. It is not believed that these “brief” excursions from refrigerated storage will have an appreciable affect on the stability of the allergens within their labeled expiration.
However, circumstances may occur when the allergenic extracts may be exposed to higher temperatures for longer periods of time. The most common situations when allergenic extracts may be at risk are during power outages and during shipping delays (especially in Summer months).
The following tables provide some basic guidance on the stability of allergenic extracts based on time and temperature. These recommendations have not been formally investigated, but they are considered reasonable based on some limited data from the manufacturers.
Full Strength Glycerin (manufacturer’s concentrate & skin test dropper vials)
Patient Treatment Vials (maintenance vial and all dilutions)
The following tips can help ensure that your allergenic extracts are stored properly and the risk of accelerated potency loss is minimized:
- Store all allergenic extracts in a high quality refrigerator, medical or clinical quality if possible.
- Avoid storing patient treatment vials (those diluted with saline) close to the cooling element. This is often near the back of the refrigerator and can sometimes lead to frozen vials.
- Place a digital thermometer in the fridge so the temperature can be checked daily, and immediately following a power outage or surge.
- A full refrigerator will maintain temperature better than a mostly empty refrigerator, though an overfilled fridge may interfere with proper functioning of the cooling and condenser components.
- Following a power outage, do not open the refrigerator more than is necessary. The fridge will likely maintain its temperature for a few hours.
- If a power outage is anticipated to last more than 24 hours, you may consider moving your allergenic extracts to another storage location, or placing in a cooler with ice packs (but do not freeze!)
- If you think a temperature excursion has occurred (e.g. over the weekend), document the estimated duration of the excursion, and the highest temperature reached, and contact our pharmacy for guidance.
If you have a specific situation or concern about the stability or potency of your allergenic extracts, please contact our pharmacy directly at 1-800-547-1399.