and kept in a cool place, away from the light. For drugs in liquid form, the shelf life is commonly shorter.
To determine if a drug has deteriorated, here are some common sense guidelines. important:
• colour and clarity - has it become cloudy? • particulate matter - are there tiny visible particles? • preservative content - if stated • sterility - has the bottle been tampered with or opened? • has the drug interacted with its enclosure - bottle or lid?
If none of these signs are present, then the liquid in question is more likely to be viable than if there were any visible signs of degradation.
If the drug is in tablet form, signs of degradation can include:
• tablet appearance • tablet moisture content • hardness - has the tablet become as hard as a rock • friability - uncoated tablets • disintegration time - when placed in water • tablet uniformity of content
Any of these tell-tale signs may indicate chemical degradation.
Of course, the only certain way of establishing whether significant degradation has taken place is by carrying out a chemical assay on the product. For drugs that are hard to obtain and difficult to replace, an assay makes a lot of sense. A detailed discussion on the testing of Nembutal is given in a later Chapter. Of course, the only certain way of establishing whether