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Some drugs are light sensitive and undergo photodegradation.  The UVLI-bag™ was designed to protect these drugs from light, especially ultra-violet (U.V.) light.
No.  Light in the U.V. range is generally about 10 times more damaging than visible light.  Sunlight is a mixture of U.V., visible, and infrared light.  Fluorescent bulbs emit both U.V. and visible light, while incandescent bulbs emit only visible light. Parenterals magazine states,  “According to Planks theory, the energy per photon increases as the wavelength of light decreases.  The wavelength of visible light is 380-780 nanometers (nm, one billionth of a meter); the UV range is 185-380 nm.  Thus, the photodegradation of drugs in solution is more rapid in ultraviolet than visible light.” (Copy available on request.)
  1. It can be very serious.  In all cases, it is recommended that if there is any question whether the drug may be light sensitive, that a protective covering should be used.  Some hospitals routinely cover all I.V. drugs to make certain that those medications which require protection always receive it.
  2. Infusion magazine writes, “If drugs in I.V. solutions are light sensitive, they may be exposed to light for prolonged periods of time… and may be rendered ineffective.  Worse, toxic products may form and be administered to patients.” (Copy available on request.)
  3. Parenteral magazine states, “It is best to minimize exposure of all drugs to natural or artificial light.”  It is noted in this same article, and others written on the subject, that sometimes there are visible signs of degradation of a drug, and sometimes there are not. (Copy available on request.)
Oral solids, liquids, and injectables may be light sensitive.
If the drug manufacturer recommends that the drug be protected from light, or packages the drug in light-inhibiting containers, then the drug should be kept in light-protective packaging through storage and administration.
No.  The UVLI-bag™ that covers 1-liter I.V.’s cost about 10 cents per bag.  The smallest UVLI-bag™ for oral solids costs about one cent per bag.  This is a small price to pay for protection of a light- sensitive medication which might become either ineffective or toxic, or both.
Yes.  Medipak regularly tests the bags to make sure that they consistently exceed United States Pharmacopeia (USP) specifications, which require that the maximum transmission of light at any wavelength between 290nm to 450nm (the ultraviolet range) is no greater than 10 percent (Ref. the 28th Revision, January 1, 2005, Page 2397)
Medipak developed the original light-inhabitant polybag, the UVLI-bag™, in 1966 and has been the leader in sales of such bags ever since.  Medipak continues to be the pioneer in the development of different colors, sizes, and features in UV resistant bags.
In nearly all cases, neither is truly acceptable. The Slit-top UVLI-bag™ has a ready-made hole in the top for the I.V. hanger so there is no danger of tearing.  It is designed to be transparent enough to allow monitoring of the I.V. fluid level without removing the protective UVLI-bag™. Infusion magazine specifically recommends the use of commercial amber bags designed for use with I.V. solutions. Paper bags are not really satisfactory because a hole must be made in the top, which may tear, allowing in too much light.  There is also a problem of determining I.V. fluid levels because the bag is not transparent, which requires duplicate labeling inside and outside the bag. I.V. Drug Topics state, “The use of foil is cumbersome (and is not transparent) and extreme care must be taken to insure complete occlusion of light.  If a light hole exists in foil, there may actually be an accentuation of light intensity through the solution and result in greater decomposition." (Copy available on request.) Note: One notable exception is Nitroprusside and Amphotercin, which comes with a foil bag for protection of the drug. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.