- March 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm #271812
I am trying to sort and do that bad, bad, bad 5 letter word–“clean” Pardon my American…
I am finding squirreled away all sorts of new/never opened bottles of over the counter meds. I once “heard” that all US based medications, those may have been prescription ones, that whatever the expiration date was on the medication, there was “really” another 3 years before expiration, certain time sensitive medications had a much less shelf life though.
My question is, should all these items more than say 6 months, if still sealed be disposed of? Or any things still sealed good and if so, what’s a real life shelf on them?
I said 6 months, always assuming the true expiration date would be beyond by a reasonable date.
But, does anyone have any sage advice on this?
Most items are say, headache type OTC meds, a few of creams for skin problems, but basically more or less what most people might have in wherever they store these items.
I don’t want to use something that’s dangerous, and certainly if the ingredients loose potency or efficacy, I don’t want to use them but, don’t want to just toss if it’s still viable.
But, I hate just tossing without knowing. Some things have a couple of years since expiration, but really, what’s a safe cutoff?
Thanks for any info.
- March 21, 2009 at 2:00 pm #418016
The otc pills should be fine. yes, otc medications can still be used after the expiration date for a few years. in fact, if you ask most medicine companies, they will tell you they donate their expired medications to other countries.
they wouldn’t do that if it was lethal. anyway, i might be careful with any creams, etc. it seems to me that their ingredients could “separate” just like certain foods & might not be effective or may cause some sort of reaction, but you could always call the company & ask.
you could also call your family doctor & ask their advice.
- March 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm #418082
the only thing that ever got stronger was some heat type rub it separated .. but when mixed up and put in another container was fine ..
personally otc has never bothered me
as for ‘script i keep those too .. they may not be as effective but if you have a migraine and need pain meds then old is better than none .. especially since last time i was in hospital it took them 5 hours before they saw me (and that apparently is quick)
Keeping old meds is also handy when you see the Drs you can say “”XYZ”” worked for blah blah .. if you toss them you may not remember and in the hosp you will not have your Drs files availiable ..
Always write notes on script bottles so you know what you took it for, & any other info
- March 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm #418100
That’s a good idea Ria, to write what you took the medication for on the bottle. I always look at my old prescriptions and can never remember what it was for, so I end up throwing them out. I’m going to start doing that now.
- March 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm #418102
I’ve never had a problem taking expired OTC or prescription meds. They’ve all worked fine. I liked the idea to write on prescriptions what they were used for!
Most of mine I use regularly but every once in a while I have to take something for a few weeks to a month. later on down the road I scratch my head wondering what it was for! I did some research online and identified most of them and tossed the ones I couldn’t figure out.
- April 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm #420462
The expiration date does not indicate that a drug will be ineffective or harmful after that date, but rather that said drug is still good on that date and manufacturers will still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug. (The manufacturers have only tested the drug for that long of period.)
The effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications (both over the counter and prescription) are still good for 10 or even 15 years after the expiration date.
Be sure to store your medicines in a cool, dry place unless otherwise stated on the label.
If in doubt, throw it out — is a phrase that is good to live by, though. If you think a medication could be dangerous to take–throw it out!!
Hope this helps. Thanks; Virginia
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