HomeMedicine ArticlesShould I Take Expired Drugs? - The Right Thing to Do

Should I Take Expired Drugs? – The Right Thing to Do

How long do prescription drugs last? When should you throw away expired drugs? It depends on the drug, but it can be hard to tell when they are still good. It’s important to know that you can take expired drugs if there’s no other option, but in some cases taking expired medication may pose health risks and could even be fatal in some situations. If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to take your expired medications, here are some tips on how to tell when your drugs go wrong and what to do with them afterwards.

Why Do Drugs Have Expiration Dates?

Why do prescription drugs have expiration dates? What happens when you take expired drugs? Should you even consider taking drugs past their expiration date, or should you be discarding them altogether and trying to find new ones as soon as possible? When it comes to expired medications, there are very different opinions out there on whether they’re safe to take or not.

Prescription drugs can be expensive, so many people like to take their medications as long as possible. Some might think that if they’re taking an expired drug and nothing terrible has happened yet, it will continue to be safe for them to take. However, expiration dates are set on drugs for excellent reasons.

Most prescription drugs should be discarded after their expiration date or within five years of being manufactured. Do expired drugs still work; the most critical question is whether an expired drug will work for your condition. When a drug expires, it doesn’t mean that it no longer works; it just means that there’s no guarantee regarding its safety or effectiveness. You may have heard stories from older relatives who took medications for many years after they had expired and continued to live long lives without any ill effects.

How Can I Tell If My Drug Is Expired?

Most Prescription Drugs Have an Expiration Date – It’s not hard to tell if a drug has expired; it usually says right on the bottle. If you’re not sure or want to do a bit of research before spending your money, there are a few ways to figure out how long your drugs might last.

For how long do drugs stay good? – Some people think that any old drug can be used after its expiration date—but that’s not true. Almost all drugs lose their effectiveness over time, and most should only be used up until their expiration dates. Of course, some drugs (like insulin) need to be discarded more quickly than others due to issues with bacterial growth.

How to Tell If Your Drug Is Expired – Look for an expiration date printed on your prescription. Check your pill bottle or ask your pharmacist if you don’t see one. Many drug manufacturers stamp a code that any pharmacy technician can scan; these codes typically indicate when a drug expires.

Tips on How to Take an Expired Drug?

Most drugs will lose their effectiveness well before they expire. Still, it’s a good idea to be aware of potential expiration dates so that you aren’t taking expired drugs without knowing it. The laws require prescription medications have expiration dates printed on them. These dates are not recommendations; they reflect when manufacturers guarantee that a product is at full potency and quality—but even expired meds may still work fine in some cases.

Most medications will still be effective for several years after their expiration date. You can usually use expired drugs safely, but to know for sure, you’ll need to check with your doctor or pharmacist. It’s essential to be aware that some prescription medications should not be used past expiration dates.

1. Check with Your Doctor or Pharmacist to Know for Sure

But, in general, it’s a good idea to be aware of expiration dates so that you don’t accidentally take out-of-date drugs without knowing it. If you use an expired drug, there is no hard and fast rule about what will happen. It depends on what type of drug it is and how old it is.

2. Some Expired Drugs May Be At Least Partially Effective

It’s just hard to predict how long their effectiveness will last. In some cases, you may need to follow up with your doctor or pharmacist if you’ve used an expired drug that was critical to your health and well-being. A good rule of thumb is to use common sense if a particular medication is essential for your health and well-being—like blood pressure medication—you should probably avoid using it after its expiration date passes.

3. Don’t Use an Expired Drug If It Could Harm You

Certain medications should not be used past their expiration dates. For example, medications containing nitro-glycerine may become unstable after their expiration date passes and can lose their effectiveness or become harmful to take. Always read and follow your medication labels. If you have any questions about whether a drug is still good after its expiration date has passed, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

4. Check with Your Doctor or Pharmacist Before Using an Expired Drug

It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about whether a drug is still good after its expiration date has passed. And, it may be helpful to ask your doctor when you need that drug so that he can help figure out whether there’s enough time for it to expire before you need it.

5. Keep Track of All of Your Prescription Drugs

It’s a good idea to keep track of all of your prescription drugs, whether or not they have expired so that you can use them as prescribed and throw away any that are no longer needed. You can usually do so by using an app on your smartphone.

What Happens to Medicines That Are Past Their Expiration Date?

You may have a prescription that’s no longer needed and don’t want to throw away drugs with expiry dates, or you may be worried about expired drugs having side effects. The following are the things that happen when a medicine reaches its expiry date.

1. Loss of Effectiveness

The drugs won’t work as well as they were initially intended to, and that means if you take a drug for high blood pressure and it doesn’t lower your blood pressure sufficiently, you might not be treating your condition adequately.

2. Added Side Effects

Some drugs lose their potency over time and become less potent, leading to more frequent or more substantial side effects. For example, an older version of a blood pressure drug may cause insomnia as a side effect, whereas a newer version of that same drug won’t.

3. Broken Down Drug

Some drugs will break down over time, especially if exposed to light, heat or humidity. The broken-down drug won’t work as effectively and could potentially cause more side effects than it would have when new.

4. Lack of Potency

All drugs lose their potency over time, and when they are past their expiry date, there’s no way to know how potent that drug is. There could be side effects that didn’t exist with a newer version of that same drug because it wasn’t as potent as when it was new.

Conclusion

When you go to the pharmacy, you may have noticed a use by or expiration date printed on some of your prescriptions. You might be curious about what this date means and if it’s safe to take medicine after this date has passed. The answer isn’t as simple as you may think! We hope the article helps you determine whether an expired drug is safe to take or should be thrown away instead.

FAQs

1. Are prescription drugs safe to use after their expiration date has passed?

The short answer is yes, but you should keep a few essential things in mind. First of all, you must talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, including those who have passed their expiration dates, so be sure to clarify it with them first.

2. Which medications can expire and which can’t?

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can potentially lose potency over time, meaning they become less effective and won’t provide relief from symptoms like they once did. Prescription medications—such as antidepressants, birth control pills, antibiotics and others—are designed to last indefinitely as long as they are stored properly.

3. What happens if I take expired medicine?

In general, you shouldn’t notice anything different other than a loss of efficacy. If a medication still seems potent after being past its expiration date, then you don’t need to worry about taking it. But some can pose serious health risks.

4. Are expired drugs just as good as those that haven’t passed their expiration date?

The bottom line is, yes, you can take expired drugs; whether or not they will be effective for you depends on several factors, including how old they are and how well you handle your medications in general.

5. Why do most drugs have an expiration date?

Expiration dates on pharmaceuticals exist primarily to protect public health.

References

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/out-of-date-medicines

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/dont-be-tempted-use-expired-medicines

https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/pages/2014-06-25-when-drugs-go-bad.aspx

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/ensuring-safe-use-medicine/how-safely-dispose-unused-or-expired-medicine-video-transcript

https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/expiry-dates

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