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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Expired Meds -- Some Are Downright Dangerous!

Medications have expiration dates for good reasons. For some medications, particularly over-the-counter, using medications past their expiration date may mean they are weakened with age, so you are not getting the full benefit from using them. But for other drugs, using them past the expiration date can be dangerous.

Over the counter

According to Rabia Atayee, an associate clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Diego, taking dated OTC meds means "you may not get 100 percent of the benefits if the expiration date has passed, but it's not dangerous."

The real danger

The real danger is in taking antibiotics and other prescription drugs for life-threatening illnesses. The real danger is not in the drug itself but in the fact that the drug is in a weakened state which makes it unable to deliver full effects and, therefore, could pose a life-threatening situation for the patient. For example, if you have an expired inhaler and suffer an asthma attack, your inhaler may not be strong enough to save your life.

The same situation can occur by using oral nitroglycerin (NTG), a medication used for angina (chest pain), and insulin, used to control blood sugar in those with diabetes. As the drugs age they may lose their potency and stop working. These are drugs which should never be taken past the expiration date.

How often to discard old medications

It's a good idea to check the expiration dates on all your medications every 6 months. To remember, try to coordinate the check with other things you would check every 6 months, like smoke alarm detector batteries or the water filter in your refrigerator.

Read more about expired drugs at
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.