Classifieds Business Directory Jobs Real Estate Autos Legal Notices ePubs Subscribe Archives
Today is December 22, 2014
home news sports feature opinion fyi society obits multimedia

Front Page » December 12, 2013 » Focus » Are expired medications still safe?
Published 375 days ago

Are expired medications still safe?


Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints

It is 2 a.m. and that cough and stuffy nose you have been battling is still keeping you up. You reach for the nighttime cold relief medicine only to find it expired a few months ago. If you take a dose to ease your symptoms, will you be putting yourself at risk?

This situation is a relatively common occurrence. Many medicine cabinets are stocked with over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medications that may be past their expiration dates. It is a good idea to routinely discard expired medicines, but if you happen to take a drug that has passed its expiration date, you will most likely suffer no ill effects.

According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, the expiration date on a medicine is not the dates when a drug becomes hazardous. Rather, it marks the period of time after which a drug company can no longer guarantee the efficacy of the medication.

Expiration dates also may be a marketing ploy. Francis Flaherty, a retired FDA pharmacist, has said drug manufacturers put expiration dates on products for marketing purposes rather than scientific reasons. It doesn't make financial sense to a company to have products on the shelves for years. Therefore, most drug manufacturers will not do long-term testing on products to confirm if they will be effective 10 to 15 years after manufacture.

The U.S. military has conducted their own studies with the help of the FDA. FDA researchers tested more than 100 over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Around 90 percent were proven to still be effective long past the expiration date -- some for more than 10 years. Drugs that are stored in cool, dark places have a better chance of lasting because the fillers used in the product will not separate or start to break down as they might in a warm, humid environment. Storing medicines in the refrigerator can prolong their shelf life.

Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints


Top of Page


 
Focus  
December 12, 2013
Recent Focus
Quick Links
Subscribe via RSS
Related Articles  
Related Stories



Best viewed with Firefox
Get Firefox

© Sun Advocate, 2000-2013. All rights reserved. All material found on this website, unless otherwise specified, is copyright and may not be reproduced without the explicit written permission from the publisher of the Sun Advocate.
Legal Notices & Terms of Use    Privacy Policy    Advertising Info    FAQ    Contact Us
  RSS Feeds    News on Your Site    Staff Information    Submitting Content    About Us