Here we’re going to discuss the following:
- Do expiration dates mean anything?
- Myths and reality about drug expiry date;
- Difference between shelf life and expiration of the drugs;
- Whether you can consume an expired drug or not;
- How to store your drugs properly within the household.
Do Expiration Dates Mean Anything?
Do pills and tablets expire?
You reach your medicine cupboard for some aspirin or ibuprofen because you have a splitting headache and discover that the med’s expiration date is more than a year old. So, does medicine have a shelf life? Do you accept it or reject it? Will taking the drug be a fatal mistake or will you just keep suffering from headaches? And how long is a prescription drug valid?
Drug producers are obligated to mark meds’ packages with an expiration date according to the law implemented in 1979. This way the manufacturer guarantees the drug’s effectiveness and safety for the buyers. The fun thing you should know is that the FDA found out that 90% of more than 100 prescription and over-the-counter drugs are still safe to use even 15 years after their expiration date. The med’s expiration date doesn’t always indicate when it stops working or becomes dangerous to use.
Tetracycline might be a rare exception in this case. While a drug’s effectiveness may decline over time, even ten years after the expiration date, the potency is still present. The majority of drugs, except nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, are still durable in ten years. A medication’s efficiency depends on the cool, dry environment and protection from direct sunlight. To guarantee that you get everything for which you pay, the expiry dates are very conservative.
Myths & Reality About Drug Expiry Date
Drugs are wasted a great deal because they are not used in time. Is it possible to use a prescription drug long after its expiration date without losing its efficacy?
What does an expiration date mean?
The expiration date is the last day the manufacturer proves the full potency and safety of a drug. The majority of drug labels, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC), and dietary (herbal) supplements, have expiration dates.
The efficacy of medicines may be increased and prolonged with proper storage. Because of heat and humidity, bathroom medicine cabinets are not the best places to keep pharmaceutical goods. It’s the same when you leave meds in a hot automobile.
The best conditions for drugs are dark, dry areas free of light. Always keep drugs out of the reach of children and animals, and keep the caps on prescription containers tightly locked.
The potency and safety of the drug mostly depend on the way you keep and protect it from heat, sunlight, and humidity. Drug shelf life is notional for most pharmaceuticals.
Shelf Life & Expiration of The Drugs
A drug’s “shelf life” and “expiration date” are somewhat different terms. The expiry date is connected with both quality and safety of a medicine, while the shelf life often refers to a drug’s quality over a defined period of time.
While a drug’s quality may still be guaranteed after its expiration date, it is no longer guaranteed to be safe for consumption. Storage factors like heat, light, and moisture produce a variable impact on shelf life. When drugs are not kept in their original containers, their shelf lives are typically shortened. The phrase “shelf life” can also refer to the period of time between the manufacturing of a medicine and its manufacturer-assigned expiry date.
The manufacturer or pharmacist guarantees potency and safety of a drug until the date specified in the expiration date. You should see a pharmacist about individual prescriptions as some may retain potency and still be safe for a short time after the expiration date.
Unless you get special instructions from a pharmacist, it is generally not advisable to utilize a drug after it has expired. If used after the expiration date, some medications, such as antibiotics containing tetracycline, can be harmful.
So, Can I Consume an Expired Drug?
Expired medicines can be risky. You should consult a pharmacist to learn whether your drug is still safe for the use or not.
Due to a change in chemical composition or a loss in potency, pharmaceutical goods that have expired may no longer be as effective or safe as before. Some antibiotics can fail to treat infections, resulting in more serious illnesses and antibiotic tolerance. Certain expired prescriptions can cause danger because of bacterial development. Safety and effectiveness of the medication cannot be guaranteed once the expiration date has passed.
Do not utilize medication that has expired unless your pharmacist tells you that you can do it.
How to Store Your Drugs Properly
One approach to guarantee that your medications is safe and effective up to the expiration date is to store them properly.
- Check the label on your drug to learn if there are any special storage directions.
- Some medications must be kept in the refrigerator, while others must not be exposed to extreme heat.
Medicines that have not yet reached their official expiration date may lose some of their potency if they are stored improperly — in a wet bathroom cabinet, for instance. The best way is to store drugs in a cool, dry location, such as a dresser drawer, storage box, closet shelf, or a kitchen cabinet. It will help to preserve the shelf life of your medication.
Due to the changing temperatures and humidity, which might harm the drug, it is important to keep drugs out of reach of hot appliances and the sink. It’s crucial if you keep the meds in kitchen cabinets.
It is important to take precautions while storing medications in rooms with high activity, such as the kitchen, to keep out anyone who might be tempted to misuse the pharmaceuticals, such as children who are at risk of unintentional poisoning.
Storing Your Drugs: Shortlist
- Check storage information on the packages and bottles;
- Don’t leave the medications in the hot car;
- Make sure you order medications in temperature-controlled packages;
- Ask your pharmacist for advice if you have no idea how to store your medicines within your household;
- Keep the meds out of reach of kids — little hands can make big mistakes;
- Make sure the meds are in a cool, dry, and dark place;
- Remember that some drugs should be kept in the refrigerator — don’t be lazy and listen to the pharmacist’s instructions first.
IMPORTANT! You’ll be surprised to learn that your pharmacist knows more about the medications and storage rules than your doctor. If you have no idea how to keep a drug, get in touch with a pharmacist first.