Medicines and heatwaves – RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin


Global climate change continues to be the subject of international debate, which has included concern about the health impacts of climate change. Attention has also focused on the impact of ‘heat waves’ on morbidity and mortality.

Over 70,000 additional deaths were recorded in 12 European countries over the summer of 2003 during a prolonged heatwave – after this, a number of related papers were published in medical literature, including some that specifically looked at the potential for increased harm from medicine use during the heatwaves.

A number of countries including Australia have since operationalised ‘National Heat Wave Plans.’ In Australia individual states having developed specific information for to help people to manage in heatwaves, including SA Health’s “Extreme Heat – guide to coping and staying healthy in the heat.”

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A joint initiative of the Patient Services Section and the Drug and Therapeutics Information Service of the Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia. The RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin is distributed in electronic format on a weekly basis, and aims to present concise, factual information on issues of current interest in therapeutics, drug safety and cost-effective use of medications.
Editor: Assoc. Prof. Chris Alderman, University of South Australia – Director of Pharmacy, RGH © Pharmacy Department, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia 5041.

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