Some of the Pharmaceuticals intended for the treatment of minor illnesses of astronauts in space may require special packaging and reformulation to remain stable for long periods in the space environment. That's according to Dr. Putcha and her colleagues from NASA, Johnson Space Centre. Their findings, published online in The AAPS Journal suggest that some of the pharmaceuticals stored on space flights may have shorter shelf-life than they do on Earth.
Pharmaceuticals used on space flights are packed and dispensed in special flight-certified containers and stored in compact flight kits. They may be exposed to the unique environ-mental factors of space missions such as radiation and excessive vibration in addition to variations in temperature and humidity.
Scientists at the Johnson Space Centre investigated whether pharmaceuticals undergo degradation in space and, if so, which environmental variables in space may affect the stability of the medications in space. They compared physical and chemical changes in 35 formulations contained in identical pharmaceutical kits stowed on the International Space Station (ISS) and on Earth.
After stowage for 28 months in space, they found that a higher percentage of the medica-tions from each flight kit had a lower active pharmaceutical content than the controls on the ground. They also saw no variation in the temperature or humidity levels between Earth and in space.
Putcha and her colleagues suggest that exposure to the chronic low dose of ionizing radi-ation as well as repackaging of solid medications may be contributing factors for phar-maceutical stability in space.
The authors conclude: "It is important to characterize space-specific degradation products and toxicity limits using ground-based analogue environments of space that include proton and heavy ion radiation, vibration and multiple gravity conditions. This information can facilitate research for the development of space-hardy pharmaceuticals and packaging technologies."
Du B, Putcha L et al (2011). Evaluation of physical and chemical changes in pharmaceuticals flown on space missions. The AAPS Journal. DOI 10.1208/s12248-011-9270-0
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
A list of our favorite and most popular articles
Massive $1.5 billion study would have followed 100,000 children
Researchers examine “text reuse” in arXiv
NASA, NSF gain; NIH and DOE flat
Ace WIRED photographer Josh Valcarcel and I spent some 15 hours touring the stacks with the California Academy of Sciences' many curators, and over the next three weeks we’ll be bringing you the most amazing critters we found in the collections. First up are the remarkable mammals and birds you see above, many of which are extinct or extremely threatened, specially chosen for us to see by collections manager Moe Flannery.
Advice to scientists on how to game the Altmetrics score system.
Indiana researchers studying Twitter become the object of a social media attack by conservatives
Referenda, initiatives touch on an array of research-related topics
One of the top scientific conferences on tropical diseases will take place without the people who have the most recent and direct experience with Ebola in West Africa.
Some of our favorite scary and disturbing studies