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We’ve all been there. Stuck with aches, pains, and runny nose, and the cough medicine
in the cabinet is five years old. The question is, do you take it and risk it? Or toss it
and suffer?
Hey pill poppers Julia here for DNews
We’ve talked on DNews before about food expirations dates or ‘sell by’ dates as
they’re sometimes called. And we’ve found well.. there is less actual rules and more like
guidelines. Most food lasts well beyond that date. Others, well you have do a quick sniff
test. But have you ever noticed that medication has an expiration date too? Rachael Lee asked us,
Can you get sicker from expired medicine?
The FDA started slapping an expiration date on medicines in 1979. So it’s been over
30 years since that decision, has it made a difference?
Typically the expiration date is set a year to five years beyond the date of manufacture.
It’s less of an expiration date and more of a date of guaranteed potency. Basically
after that date, manufacturers can’t guarantee the drug will be 100% potent, it doesn’t
necessarily mean it will be unsafe or less effective.
But there’s some evidence that some medicines can hold their potency for quite awhile especially
in controlled conditions.
A study conducted by the FDA on behalf of the Military found ways to extend the life
of medicines in storage in a program called SLEP or shelf life extension program. They
found that they could extend the life of 88% of the drugs in government facilities by at least
a year by simply keeping them in climate controlled storage. Most drugs lasted on average five
and half years past the expiration date.
While civilians like you and I might not have access to tightly controlled storage facilities,
there’s always the fridge. Which some experts recommend a cool, dry place, for extending
the life of your medication.
But maybe drugs last longer than five years even without chilling the fed’s fridge. One
study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that some medicines
can hold their own for DECADES. In this study, all the drugs were all 28-40 years past their due date.
They only looked at a handful of medicines, 8 different medications like with 15 different
compounds between them like caffeine, aspirin, or hydrocodone. They found that most, 12 of
those compounds remained in amounts of at least 90% decades after their expiration date.
And that 90% is crucial, that’s how much of the good stuff a drug needs to be considered
“effective” by the FDA. So most of the decades old medicine didn’t break down or lose it’s
potency. Although two medicines, aspirin and amphetamine, seem to lose some of their juice
after all that time. They were present in amounts less than 90%.
But before you go poppin grandma’s pills, which you shouldn’t take anyone else's pills
anyways…. that’s illegal. But really the FDA recommends listening to those expiration
dates. They caution that drugs gone bad could be “less effective or risky due to a change
in chemical composition or decrease in potency.”
FDA pharmacist, Ilisa Bernstein, straight up says “If your medicine has expired, do
not use it.” Especially with living saving drugs like an epi-pen. If a drug’s expired,
the FDA recommends tossing it. The best way to dispose of a drug is usually on the bottle
or some cities have prescription medicine take back programs. So look into that if you’re
worried about all the leftover medication in your bathroom cabinet.
So it seems drugs last longer than their “good by” date, but at the end of the day I’d
still listen to the FDA just to be on the safe side.
But it’s not just medicines that expire, there’s lots of common things you didn’t
know have an expiration date. Trace has the whole list of things in your house that go
bad, right here.
Bleach is what is being used by the CDC in their labs and it has an expiration date of only six months from the day of manufacture.
so like, 3-5 months once you get it home.
So you've ever used expired medicine before? noticed anything weird? Tell us about it down in the comments below. And thanks Rachel for your question.
If you guys have any more questions that you'd like us to answer here on DNews, submit words down below
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Is It Unsafe To Take Expired Medicine?

14087 Folder Collection
hsiehpon published on June 21, 2016    ohyawow translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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