Medication Expiration Dates: What Do They Mean?

An expiration date is a date after which a consumable product such as food or medicine should not be used because it may be spoiled, damaged, or ineffective. The term expiration date also refers to the date that a drug patent expires. Expiration dates are especially important for medications because they offer the only indication about whether the product is still safe to use. Food items, on the other hand, often look or smell bad when they have passed their “best-buy” dates. Certain medications can be fatal to children or pets if they ingest even the smallest amount; these should be flushed down the sink or toilet once they pass their expiration date. It is especially important to adhere to the expiration dates of pharmaceuticals. Because their chemical composition can change over time, expired medicines risk becoming less potent, less effective, and even harmful. For example, an expired medication might not be able to control the underlying condition as well as a medication that has not reached its expiration date, so using it could have serious consequences.

Best Before and Expiry Dates for Food and Drugs

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.

The. Expiration date of a drug is given based on its stability in its original container and shows the time over which the potency and integrity of a drug in its sealed.

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. Your medications may expire before the expiration date if improperly stored, or they may last well beyond their expiration date, as some studies have shown. While most drugs do not become dangerous when expired, they can still pose a threat to your health.

Over time, drugs lose their potency. Using a drug past its expiration date may affect its quality and effectiveness. Several factors can influence these dates, including type of active ingredients, storage conditions, preservatives, and the kind of container the drug is stored in. Medications last only as long as their storage conditions are favorable. Drugs can lose their potency long before the expiration date if exposed to oxygen, heat, light, or humidity.

In order to maintain their potency, medications should be stored in a place that is dry, cool, and dark. Despite popular practice, this means that your bathroom medicine cabinet should not be used, because its high level of humidity can cause medications to break down and lose their effectiveness.

Expiration date of medications

There is so much wastage of drugs as they are not used in time. Medications are expensive, and in the Asian and African continents, where many have the problem of affordability the debate is to see if the medication could be used even after the expiry date without losing the efficacy. Most of drug expiration dates information is from the 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.

Prescription medications have expiration dates on their original containers, but your pharmacist is required only to put a “Discard by” date on the bottle; this date​.

Subscriber Account active since. Just like food, medication is required by law to have an expiration date on its packaging. But how long past that date can you keep using your over-the-counter and prescription drugs? And is it safe to take expired medicine? The expiration date on the packaging of OTC and prescription drugs doesn’t necessarily reflect when the product expires. That date is the date after which full potency cannot be guaranteed by the manufacturer,” emergency-medicine specialist Dr.

Studies conducted by independent researchers and the Food and Drug Administration have found that common drugs retain nearly all their potency many years after the posted expiration date.

Drug expiry debate: the myth and the reality

Most people closely follow the expiration dates for food, but they may not think about the expiration dates on their medications. They might wonder, does medication really expire, and how long can you take medicine after the expiration date? Here is some information from experts about prescription expiration dates. Always consult with your doctor about your own unique situation.

Since , the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide expiration dates on all their products. For the majority.

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Can medications become harmful after the expiration date?

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“Shortens the expiration date to be used under certain conditions for solid oral dosage forms repackaged in unit-dose containers from 12 months.

By Glenn Ellis. Is expired medication effective and safe to take? Do drugs really stop working after the date stamped on the bottle? Drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. But what does the expiration date mean? Expiration dates are typically conservative to make sure you get what you paid for — a fully potent and safe medicine. Expiration dates have been mandated for medications since

Checkup for Your Medicine Cabinet

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.

Most medications have an expiration date between 12 to 60 months after they are manufactured. If a pharmacist puts your medication into another container, that.

Learn more. Prescription medications have expiration dates on their original containers, but your pharmacist is required only to put a “Discard by” date on the bottle; this date is usually one year from the date the prescription is filled. So the medication may actually be good for longer than you think. Certain meds should never be used beyond their expiration dates: oral nitroglycerin for chest pain , insulin, inhalers and EpiPens.

Other drugs you should ensure are full strength include anticonvulsants, warfarin, digoxin and thyroid preparations. Do now : Ask your pharmacist if the medication can be used safely beyond the “Discard by” date. If your medicine is in its original packaging, look for the expiration date stamped on the side or bottom. If the expiration date has passed, it’s time to get rid of the drug. Those who take certain insomnia and allergy medications long term are more likely to have problems with memory and decision-making.

See the Drug Enforcement Administration website, dea. Some facilities also offer mail-back programs or drop boxes. Several recent studies have found that this practice results in some medicines contaminating the local water supply. Mix medications with used coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter.

Drug Expiration Dates – Are Expired Drugs Still Safe to Take?

August , Volume Number 8 , page 17 – 17 [Free]. Join NursingCenter to get uninterrupted access to this Article. A patient was concerned when she realized she’d taken a dose of medication that was well beyond its expiration date. I told her it had probably lost potency and advised her to dispose of it properly and check with her healthcare provider if she needs another prescription. Are any medications likely to be toxic or otherwise harmful after the expiration date?

You get your meat or poultry or milk from the store and check the expiration dates​. Actually, a clarification is in order; when we look at the.

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.

This testing is designed to provide confidence that the product will meet the applicable standards of strength, quality, and purity throughout its shelf-life. FDA recommends that applicants and manufacturers follow the recommendations in internationally harmonized guidance documents on stability testing such as the International Council on Harmonization guidance documents ICH Q1 A-F and Q5C.

To help alleviate drug shortages, FDA has also approved extensions of expiration dates when data supporting the extension are available. If a drug has degraded, it might not provide the patient with the intended benefit because it has a lower strength than intended. In addition, when a drug degrades it may yield toxic compounds that could cause consumers to experience unintended side effects.

Patients with serious and life-threatening diseases may be particularly vulnerable to potential risks from drugs that have not been stored properly. There are a number of simple steps consumers can take to dispose of expired medications. FDA supports a public health program involving other partners to extend the expiration dates for a limited number of carefully selected drug products. Federal stockpiles are stores of certain drugs that might be needed to prevent or treat diseases or conditions which may occur during a public health emergency.

SLEP is a fee-for-service program through which the labeled shelf life of certain federally stockpiled products can be extended after select products undergo periodic stability testing conducted by FDA.

Drug Expiration Dates: How Accurate Are They?

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.

A patient was concerned when she realized she’d taken a dose of medication that was well beyond its expiration date. I told her it had probably lost potency and.

I’ve always wondered what exactly an expiration date means on a drug. Does it become less effective? Could it poison me? Obviously, there’s a big difference in those two things, so I was glad to see this NPR story that sheds some light on drug expiration dates. Just because a drug is past its expiration date doesn’t necessarily mean you should toss it. Many states require drug labels to carry an expiration date just one year past the date of sale, but drug manufacturers often set dates two years later, based on testing.

The FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein says there are no guarantees that drugs will be effective after the expiration date but that medications stored in a cool, dry place can last much longer. Does that mean we should focus on decoding drug names and drug interactions and not worry about the expiration dates? If the drug is used to treat something commonplace, such as headaches or heartburn, you’re probably safe using it past the date. But for medications your life depends on — particularly meds for severe allergic reactions such as EpiPens — you should not use them past the expiration date.

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The shelf life of our expired drugs!