Can You Use Expired Medicines?

4:11 PM, Jul 16, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Like everything else, medicines have expiration dates. But are they hard and fast dates or are they more like a guideline?

The FDA, does not recommend the use of medications past their expiration dates for patient safety. But they are not the ones setting those dates.

Expiration dates are set by the drug manufacturer. The FDA requires that a product pass "stability" tests to ensure that a product maintains its identity, strength, quality, safety and purity for the duration of the chose expiration period.

The FDA makes it clear, the expiration date is not the date after which the medication has necessarily "gone bad" it is the date after which the manufacturer cannot guarantee the product meets FDA standards those specifically around potency.

Pharmacist Peter Crouch from Eden Drug joined us by facetime to talk about the drugs you should never used when expired and how we can sometimes cause drugs to expire before their listed date.

"it's probably not the best idea to take an expired drug, but will if you did, most woudn't hurt you." Crouch says antiboitics should not be used after the expiration date and he reminded us that we should never have an antibiotic left over. Directions are to take it all.

Reconstituted suspensions like Amoxicillin that require refrigeration and other liquids may not have the required potency when outdated. Crouch says the pediatric forms that need to be refrigerated are still good if you make a mistake and leave it out at room temperature overnight.

But a main point he made is to make sure you don't store you medicines in the medicine cabinet because it's hot and there is moisture build up. And while a lot of people keep meds in the car to always have them, that is not a good place either.

Other meds to be aware of:

Insulin in another product that is not recommended to be used past its potency.

Nitroglycerin, used for chest pain and to prevent a heart attack.  

Also be weary of injectable medications and eye drops.

 

 

 

 

 

With all of the potential storage variability it is probably best to discard of all expired medications.What's happening in the drugs when they are past the expiration?? When drugs are past their expiration, they may begin to decompose or lose their potency. Across the board, the exposure to the elements decreases their potency. There are no specific reports linking expired medication use to human toxicity. As early as 1985, the Department of Defense and the FDA created the Shelf Life Extension Program Those (SLEP), which has been testing pharmaceuticals for more than 25 years to estimate when drugs actually will lose their potency. According to the studies conducted by the SLEP, many drug products may have extended shelf lives beyond their expiration date--90% of more than 100 drugs both OTC and RX were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

There are no specific reports linking expired medication use to human toxicity. As early as 1985, the Department of Defense and the FDA created the Shelf Life Extension Program Those (SLEP), which has been testing pharmaceuticals for more than 25 years to estimate when drugs actually will lose their potency. According to the studies conducted by the SLEP, many drug products may have extended shelf lives beyond their expiration date, 90% of more than 100 drugs both OTC and RX were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

That being said, for all around patient safety discarding of used and expired medications is the best policy. With small children and pets, excess medications provide a hazard.

 

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