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Space Environment Effects on Stability of Medications Flown on Space Shuttles and the International Space Station (ISS)The purpose is to assess physical and chemical degradation of select pharmaceutical formulations from the Shuttle and ISS medical kits. Eleven pharmaceuticals dispensed as different dosage forms were selected based on their physical / chemical characteristics and susceptibility to environmental factors such as, temperature, humidity and light sensitivity. When available, ground-controls of the study medications with matching brand and lot numbers were used for comparison. Samples retrieved from flight were stored along with their matching controls in a temperature and humidity controlled environmental chamber. Temperature, humidity, and radiation data from the Shuttle and ISS were retrieved from onboard HOBO U12 Temp/RH Data Loggers, and from passive dosimeters. Physical and chemical analyses of the pharmaceuticals were conducted using validated United States Pharmacopeia (USP) methods. Results indicated degradation of 6 of the 11 formulations returned from space flights. Four formulations, Amoxicillin / Clavulanate, promethazine, sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim, and ciprofloxacin tablets depicted discoloration after flight. Chemical content analyses using High or Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC / UPLC) methods revealed that dosage forms of Amoxicillin / Clavulanate, promethazine, sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim, lidocaine, ciprofloxacin and mupirocin contained less than 95% of manufacturer s labeled claim of active drug compound. Shuttle and ISS environments affect stability and shelf life of certain mediations flown on these missions. Data analysis is in progress to examine the effect of specific space flight environmental factors on pharmaceutical stability. The degradation profiles generated from ground studies in analog environments will be useful in establishing predictive shelf-life profiles for medications intended for use during long-term space exploration missions.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Daniels, Vernie (Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Du, Jianping (Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Crady, Camille (Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Satterfield, Rick (Enterprise Advisory Services, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Putcha, Lakshmi (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
2007 ACCP Annual Meeting(Denver, CO)
Distribution Limits