In many homes it is a common scene to see memories of old illnesses in the form of boxes and boxes of medicines crammed in drawers and cabinets. Often times, when we experience symptoms similar to those we already experience, we take a look at the drugs that were prescribed to us in their day with the intention of using them again, but then doubt assails us.
The expiration date that marks the container has already expired and we are torn between the desire to take away the pain and the fear of the possible effects. So that the next time you find yourself with this dilemma you know how to act, at FastlyHealwe bring you the answer to the question of how long can I take an expired medicine .
Table of Contents
What does the manufacturer mark us?
We have all read the warning on the medicine boxes that urges us not to use the product after the date marked on the container has passed, along with some numbers that mark a specific day or month. The first thing to know is that that date does not mark the expiration of the product , at least it does not establish a day from which it is dangerous, that date is a guarantee of effectiveness, that is, until that day the manufacturer guarantees the operation and the effectiveness of the product. It is not a date from which the drug cannot be used, but on that day we are still guaranteed its effectiveness.
But beyond that there is still more, the expiration date marks the stability of the product within the original sealed container , so the date is no longer valid once the container is opened. Likewise, that does not mean that it will expire sooner, it simply has not been studied.
Is it dangerous to take an expired medicine?
If the date on the container does not establish the expiration date of the product, the question is obvious, is it dangerous to take an expired medicine? The answer is not unique and will depend on different factors.
A 2012 study by the medical journal JAMA analyzed different medications that had expired 28 and 40 years ago, after studying them, they revealed that the vast majority had retained 90% of their active ingredients . However, just because it is still effective does not mean that it cannot become toxic. Yes, there are cases of medications that once expired can change sides and instead of curing us, they become a threat to our health . Some examples are tetracycline, an antibiotic that can affect the kidney, penicillin that produces hypersensitivity reactions and some liquid drugs, such as insulin, with which special care and caution must be exercised. Given this, the best answer that can be given is that they should alwaysAlways use medications within their term , after all it is a matter of health, something with which we should not experiment.
Until when can I take an expired medicine?
As we have already explained before, it is always better to use a drug that is within the period set by the manufacturer, now, it is not the same that the period has expired the day before it was 5 years ago, where is it? the line that we must not cross?
In general, it is possible that nothing will happen to take a drug that has expired 2 months ago, it is after 6 months when it begins to be potentially dangerous . Although most drugs, such as aspirin or paracetamol , it has been shown that they can work for up to 3 years, from FastlyHealwe recommend that you do not take medications without being sure of their validity and consult with a specialist about the specific drug .
As the date marks the stability of the product in its original container, once it is opened the parameters change and you can no longer be guided by the day indicated on the box. There are factors external to the drug such as heat or humidity that can modify its properties and make it dangerous, so we give you some tips to know if a drug is in good condition:
- The eye drops expire 4 weeks after being opened, after this time they lose their sterility, which is why microorganisms can develop in the liquid that cause infections.
- If the color or physical appearance of the medicine is altered, do not take it.
- In the case of syrups or liquid medicines, see if it has precipitated or if it has evaporated , if so, do not take it.
How to store medications?
You probably keep your medicines in the bathroom or kitchen, most families do it that way, so they make a major mistake. In addition to paying attention to the date on the container, we must also pay attention to the rest of the indications on the safety of the medicine that come in the box, including that it must be kept in a cool and dry place.
Precisely the two rooms where we usually store medications are the least cool and dry in the house, exposing the drugs to high levels of humidity. Here are some tips so that you can better conserve medications, preventing them from expiring before they should.
- They should be stored in a cool and dry place , which has a constant temperature and is not exposed to sources of heat or drafts.
- They should not be kept near televisions or electrical appliances so as not to expose them to their electromagnetic fields
- Many people use small containers to store medications, but it is always best to keep them in the original container .
- The pillbox is not a bad option if the medicine is kept there for a few days, if it is kept for a long period it is better to leave it in the container until it is time to take it.
A system problem
The fact of having at home medicines that have expired and that may be expired, is not only a dilemma we face when we have a disease and we do not know if we can use them, but it is also an anomaly in the health system that should not occur .
Most of the time, once the drug treatment is finished, we have a large number of drugs left over, something that would be avoided if the drugs were prescribed individually, adapting the doses to the patient’s needs.
That people have doubts about whether or not they can take a medicine that has expired has another reading, this is that there is a lot of self-medication, so from FastlyHealwe recommend you not to take medicines without a prescription and in any case consult with the specialist before make any decision.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How long can I take an expired drug , we recommend that you enter our Medication and medical tests category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.