Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

how long does a med last after its exp. date?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 guyledouche

  • Registered User
  • 130 posts
  • -1

Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:50 AM


If for example a bottle of ritalin said that it expires in june, 2005 does that mean its dangerous to take right now?
  • 0

#2 FunkOdyssey

  • Registered User
  • 3,358 posts
  • 623
  • Location:Manchester, CT USA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 02:44 AM

Expiration dates on medication have more to do with profit than product degradation. Expiration dates serve to limit shelf life and improve turnover. Most drugs degrade very slowly if stored correctly. The worst you would typically expect from a long expired drug would be a partial loss of potency. While some drugs may degrade into dangerous substances, but that's definitely the exception, not the rule.
  • 0

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#3 doug123

  • Registered User
  • 2,424 posts
  • 1
  • Location:Nowhere

Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:23 AM

If for example a bottle of ritalin said that it expires in june, 2005 does that mean its dangerous to take right now?


That would depend on:

1. The drug's inherent stability.
2. The conditions under which the drug had been stored previously.

Expirations dates can be adjusted, based on new stability testing.

I wouldn't take it if I could take an unexpired product. All we have are theories about drugs and their degradation, it's best to play it safe -- if possible.

Expired drugs: Are they safe?



However, not everyone agrees that expired medications are unsafe. The Medical Letter, a respected source of independent information about drugs, stated in a 2002 article that certain medicines, stored in high humidity and other bad conditions, stayed good to use for 1 1/2 to nine years after their expiration dates.

”For instance, Symmetrel (amantadine) and Flumadine (rimantidine), anti-viral drugs used to prevent and treat influenza, withstood 160-degree temperatures and were good after the equivalent of 25 years of ordinary storage,” the reports states. "Many drugs stored under reasonable conditions retain 90 percent of their potency for at least five years after the expiration date on the label, and sometimes much longer."

No one knows for sure if expired medications are safe. A consumer-oriented version of the Pentagon shelf-life program - which would check the actual life span of prescription drugs stored in bathrooms, kitchens, purses and cars - has never been done. "Currently, I am not aware of any programs that focus on drug stability in the consumer environment," said Dr. Claudia Okeke, an associate director at the U.S. Pharmacopeia in Rockville, Md.

So how does a consumer know what to believe?  There are some guidelines.  If the medication has been opened, or stored in a high temperature or high humidity environment (like your bathroom medicine cabinet), it is wise to dispose of it. Tetracycline type antibiotics and some seizure medications can cause serious toxicity if taken beyond the expiration date. Liquid drugs are less stable than tablet/powder/capsule medications. Some medications are especially affected by age. For example, taking oral contraceptives that have expired may produce an unexpected pregnancy. Some drugs obviously disintegrate, such as acetilysalycilic acid, that develops an acidic smell when it is old.

If you have a question about the safety of a particular drug, take the medication to show to your physician and get his advice. With the cost of drugs skyrocketing, taking expired drugs may be tempting, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

More resources
[url="http://www.medicalletter.com"">

http://www.medicalletter.com[/url]


  • 0

#4 Guest_da_sense_*

  • Guests
  • 0

Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:45 AM

I remember us military doing study on drugs which expired 10+ years ago. Most of the drugs had very similar potency to fresh drugs, and no dangrous drugs were found (at least among tested).
  • 0

#5 FunkOdyssey

  • Registered User
  • 3,358 posts
  • 623
  • Location:Manchester, CT USA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 01:38 PM

Tetracycline and some seizure medications can become toxic with age.

The exception to the rule. :)
  • 0

#6 eternaltraveler

  • Member, Guardian
  • 6,461 posts
  • 147
  • Location:Silicon Valley, CA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:56 PM

The exception to the rule. :)


If it is one in 100 medications that become toxic with age that means that one out of 100 times you take expired meds you will probably have toxic effects, perhaps severe ones. I've taken more than 100 different meds in my life.

Unless you know specifically for that particular drug that it is safe it would be very unwise to take expired medication.
  • 0

#7 eternaltraveler

  • Member, Guardian
  • 6,461 posts
  • 147
  • Location:Silicon Valley, CA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 06:02 PM

Tetracycline and some seizure medications can become toxic with age.


tetracycline binds to the small ribosomal subunit preventing translation in both prokaryotes and mammalian cells to begin with. It is only selectively concentrated more in prokaryotes. Perhaps whatever happens to it after it expires modifies it in such a way as to make this process less selective. Pure speculation
  • 0

#8 FunkOdyssey

  • Registered User
  • 3,358 posts
  • 623
  • Location:Manchester, CT USA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 06:40 PM

If it is one in 100 medications that become toxic with age that means that one out of 100 times you take expired meds you will probably have toxic effects, perhaps severe ones. I've taken more than 100 different meds in my life.

Unless you know specifically for that particular drug that it is safe it would be very unwise to take expired medication.

I am inclined to agree with you. I would certainly never recommend anyone take expired medication. But at the same time, lets appreciate that the risks are exaggerated intentionally to protect the profitability of the industry.
  • 0

#9 doug123

  • Registered User
  • 2,424 posts
  • 1
  • Location:Nowhere

Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:05 PM

If it is one in 100 medications that become toxic with age that means that one out of 100 times you take expired meds you will probably have toxic effects, perhaps severe ones. I've taken more than 100 different meds in my life.

Unless you know specifically for that particular drug that it is safe it would be very unwise to take expired medication.

I am inclined to agree with you. I would certainly never recommend anyone take expired medication. But at the same time, lets appreciate that the risks are exaggerated intentionally to protect the profitability of the industry.


Better safe than sorry.

It also depends on who is doing the exaggerating.

A) Someone trying to sell you expired product -- how many times can expiration dates be re-written in the name of profit?
B) Your physician

Counterfeit drugs are also defined by WHO as substandard drugs -- or expired drugs. They can pose a danger to an otherwise safe consumer. If you get your drugs from the local US pharmacy, and they are a month or so past expiration, that is one thing. If you order a drug from international sources and it is expired, that's a whole different ball game.

I can see that in various life/death situations, such as economically challenged countries -- an expired drug is better than no drug. But if you are otherwise perfectly healthy and can get an unexpired drug, take that instead.

And don't mix up expired drugs and expired foods! Would you buy or consume expired bread?
  • 0

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#10 xanadu

  • Registered User
  • 1,917 posts
  • 8

Posted 01 June 2006 - 10:03 PM

You can always check to see if there are any contraindications against using a particular expired drug. The one in 10,000 that becomes slightly toxic doesn't mean they all become toxic. I have a cheapo over the counter sleep aid I use. It comes in huge pills that would knock out a horse. I take about 1/10 to 1/20 of a tab at a time. I noticed the other day that it expired in 1995 and it was kept at room temps but still works just as well as when it was new. I will not be tossing it out. I tend to agree with Funk that the manufacturers are more concerned with profits than protecting us.

Food, now that's something I toss when it goes past the expiry date but not drugs.
  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users