07 Sep 2023, 13:26
Sören Amelang

Rising temperatures can cause serious side effects with many medicines - health authority

Clean Energy Wire

Rising temperatures due to climate change can pose a serious threat to people taking medication, German health authorities have warned. The risk that many medicines have of interacting with other drugs “can be massively increased by the effects of heat,” said the country’s disease control authority Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a report. “Even in younger persons, who suffer from pre-existing conditions less frequently, certain medicines show potentially dangerous side effects when exposed to heat.” RKI also warned that the shelf life of medicinal products is generally impaired by heat, which can reduce their effectiveness. The institute warned that people with heart failure or high blood pressure are particularly at risk. In hot temperatures, drugs to treat high blood pressure, which are often prescribed to treat heart failure, can lower blood pressure too much, it said.

As a result of increasing temperatures and heat waves, evidence and awareness of the health impacts of climate change have grown rapidly in recent years. Earlier this year, RKI called on Germany to prepare for the spread of new infectious diseases. “Notwithstanding the increase in life expectancy [in Germany], the effects of global climate change are increasingly becoming an important risk factor for health,” said the German Status Report on Climate Change and Health.

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