Do Prescription Drug Expiration Dates Matter?

When is the last time you checked your medication expiration date? While it can be tempting to ignore the expiration date on any medication for various reasons, you should think twice before taking those expired drugs. Keep reading to learn more about expiration dates and whether expired drugs simply become less potent, or if taking them could be a fatal mistake. The medication expiration date is meant to ensure the complete potency and safety of your medication. This is the date in which drug manufacturers can confidently say the product is safe and effective. The goal was to find out if the expiration dates of the drugs could be extended so that the medication could be used rather than replaced, which inevitably would save the government a lot of money. If you have a serious health issue and have been prescribed medication to treat it, the best way to do so is by taking your medicine as directed. A medication expiration date exists to help make sure your drugs are as safe and effective as possible, so you can be as healthy as possible. You may find yourself wondering if the expiration dates on your prescriptions actually mean anything.

How long you can take medications like ibuprofen and aspirin after opening them

Why are expiration dates important for consumers to pay attention to? Drug expiration dates reflect the time period during which the product is known to remain stable, which means it retains its strength, quality, and purity when it is stored according to its labeled storage conditions. FDA regulations require drug applicants to provide stability testing data with a proposed expiration date and storage conditions when they submit an application for FDA approval of their drug.

By Glenn Ellis. Is expired medication effective and safe to take? Do drugs really stop working after the date stamped on the bottle?

Ever since , the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA has required that pharmaceutical companies put expiration dates on prescription and over-the-counter medicines. That doesn’t mean your bottle of ibuprofen will go bad in the same way as, say, an expired carton of milk. The date that you see printed on a pill bottle is the date until which the medicine’s manufacturer will guarantee the drug’s safety and full potency. How long a drug actually remains safe and effective, however, is often a matter of debate.

Besides some medicines like insulin, nitroglycerin and liquid antibiotics, whose active ingredients are known to be less stable over time, many drugs might have a much longer shelf life than their packaging suggests. But not everyone knows that, so poison control centers occasionally get calls from people who are concerned because they accidentally took expired medication, said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego Division of the California Poison Control System.

The effectiveness of medicines, however, may degrade over time, but there are few studies on the issue, he said. That said, several years ago, Cantrell had a rare opportunity to examine an old stash of drugs — including antihistamines , pain relievers and diet pills — found in the back of a pharmacy.

Drugs Past Their Expiration Date

Since , the Food and Drug Administration FDA has required pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide expiration dates on all their products. For the majority of drugs sold in the United States, these dates range from 12 to 60 months from the date they are manufactured. Expiration dates are basically guidelines.

The expiration date is the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication. Drug expiration dates.

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Can medications become harmful after the expiration date?

You have probably been there; your sinuses are killing you. Your nose is running, your headache is unbearable, yet you still need to see patients for another five hours. You reach for the bottle of aspirin only to find the expiration date has come and gone by many months.

The FDA actually has a program in place for expiration date extension for drugs held in the national stockpile of medications. Often.

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Manufacturers print expiration dates on drug bottle labels. The labeled expiration date is a.

The big question is, do pills expire? With a splitting headache, you reach into your medicine cabinet for some aspirin only to find the stamped expiration date on the medicine bottle is more than a year out of date. So, does medicine expire? Do you take it or don’t you? If you decide to take the aspirin, will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache? This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Psychopharmacology Today offers some advice.

It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in , drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug. Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military.

With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. So, the expiration date doesn’t really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use.

Expiration date of medications

We may pay the price in pain, with increased lethargy, inadequate nutrient absorption, diarrhea, fever, disorientation, and fatigue. These are the penalties for indulgence in the forbidden. But what about those foods and medicines that are okay; the ones you need and that your body can handle? What can you be doing to ensure that these foods remain nutritious and safe, and that the drugs remain effective?

Read the labels. These indicators of shelf life can help to safeguard your health and provide some assurance that okay will really be okay.

Expiration dates, which have been legally required on drug products since , indicate the last date at which the manufacturer can guarantee the drug’s full.

Healthcare providers are often asked if drugs can be used past their expiration date. Because of legal restrictions and liability concerns, manufacturers do not sanction such use and usually do not even comment on the safety or effectiveness of their products beyond the date on the label. Since our last publication on this subject, 1 more data have become available.

There are no published reports of human toxicity due to ingestion, injection, or topical application of a current drug formulation after its expiration date. Renal tubular damage has been reported with use of degraded tetracycline in a formulation that is no longer available. Drugs Past Their Expiration Date. Coronavirus Resource Center. All Rights Reserved.

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A Discussion of Drug Expiration Dating