Expiration dates on Medications

Have you ever wondered if you need to throw out the medication once the expiration date has passed? Here is some thoughts for you. Since 1979 the FDA has required manufacturers (the people selling their drug) to put expiration dates on prescriptions and over the counter medications. This is the final date at which the manufacturer will guarantee the medicine has full potency. In most cases the the medications haven’t been tested for efficacy or toxicity past that date, so there is very little science behind it. The military studied the drugs in their stock pile and of 122 drugs, 88% could have their expiration date extended for another 5.5 years – though these medications were in a climate controlled situation.

Researchers from UC Irvine and UC San Francisco looked at 14 medications that had sat on their shelves 28-40 years past their expiration date. Other than aspirin and amphetamine all the other medications still had acceptable potency. Attached is a copy of that article. ilt120018_1685_1687

We spend billions of dollars on medications, throwing most away needlessly, so think twice before throwing away a medication just because it has “expired” a few months ago.

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