Birth control, like many other medications, is sensitive to changes in environment. Proper shipping and storage is key to ensuring its effectiveness. As with most medications, it’s important to keep your birth control out of reach for children and in a safe spot where it will not get tossed in the trash or lost.
Temperature and Birth Control Storage
Hormone-based birth control contains estrogen and/or progestin, which can become less effective if exposed to extreme sunlight or heat (higher than 86°F). Some common places where people store their birth control are actually high risk for heat exposure; you should avoid:
Cold temperatures can also impact the effectiveness of your birth control. Birth control can typically withstand short periods of time in the cold, but it’s best not to expose birth control to temperatures below 59°F for extended periods of time.
How do I know if my birth control has been affected by temperature?
If your birth control looks discolored, if there are changes in odor, if the pills are chipped, or they are softer/harder than normal, the pills may have been compromised by temperature. It’s important to also check the package’s expiration date. If you’re not quite sure, you can call the pharmacy and seek advice from a pharmacist directly.
If your birth control was delivered to your door or mailbox and not taken inside soon after (especially if you live in a warmer climate or it is the peak of summer heat) please be cautious and look for the indicators listed above. If you have an account with Twentyeight Health, you can reach out to our support team (email@example.com) if you need a package to be replaced. It is always better to err on the side of caution and most insurance companies will allow an override (special permission to resend a package).
Shipping Birth Control
Since most birth control can withstand temperatures higher or lower than room temperature (mid 70s°F), it is safe to ship birth control. If you use NuvaRing, the ring is refrigerated until it is dispensed from the pharmacy. The pharmacy also ships the ring with ice packs to keep it cold during its shipping process. The NuvaRing can withstand brief encounters with temperatures above 86°F, but it’s ideal to keep it refrigerated once it is delivered and take it inside soon after it is delivered.
How should I store my specific brand of birth control?
Your oral contraceptive should be stored in a cool dry place. This means it should not be below 59°F or above 86°F for an extended period of time. A common place to store oral birth control is in medicine cabinets in your bathroom. Because showers tend to get hot and humid, this option is not recommended for birth control storage. An alternative can be your dresser or bedside table.
If you’re traveling with your oral birth control, be wary of leaving your packs in your car too long if you’re in a place with warm temperatures. Oral birth control pills are shipped in a regular bubble mailer, and can withstand normal changes in shipping temperatures, but the package is not temperature controlled.
If you are not administering the shot immediately, you can store the shot in an upright position at room temperature (which can range from 68° to 77°F); you do not need to refrigerate the Depo shot. The Depo shot should not be stored in a bathroom or near the sink due to the humidity and heat that comes from showers and baths.
Birth Control patches should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight and/or heat can change how the patch releases hormones, making the patch less effective for pregnancy prevention. Birth control patches do not need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. It is best to keep the patches sealed in the original packaging before you use them. Once you open the package, you should place the patch on your body right away.
You can store the NuvaRing at room temperature for up to four months, away from direct sunlight. In order to extend the shelf life of the NuvaRing, our pharmacy partner stores the NuvaRing in the refrigerator prior to being dispensed and ships the rings with ice packs. We suggest tracking the package so you can take it inside as soon as it is delivered. Please avoid storing NuvaRing in direct sunlight or at temperatures above 86°F. Annovera, a ring that can last for up to one year, does not need to be kept in the refrigerator. However, while it is not in the body it should be kept in its case and stored around 68°F to 77°F, which is room temperature. It should also be kept out of direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and the refrigerator.
Heat, humidity, and moisture can break condoms down. Be sure to store them in a dry environment between 32°F and 100°F.
Looking for more personalized info? Message a doctor through Twentyeight to get medical advice based on your needs and lifestyle.