Monday, June 11, 2012

Not really expired

There have been a lot of articles (again) on the question, “Are Expired Drugs Effective?”

Since 1979, drug manufacturers have been required to stamp an expiration date on their products.

In 1985, due to having a large stockpile of drugs (and facing the possibility of having to discard and replace large quantities of drugs), the Pentagon had the FDA conduct a study.

What they found from the study is that 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and OTC, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

The exceptions noted at that time were tetracycline, nitroglycerin, insulin and liquid antibiotics.

However, the Pentagon stores its stockpile of medications under controlled temperature, humidity, and light conditions. A medicine cabinet in a bathroom is not an ideal storage environment. The best place to store medications is a cool place, such as the refrigerator.

I would never encourage the use of medications that have expired 15 years ago, but many medications, that have been properly stored, don’t need to be discarded immediately after their expiration date.

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