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Old 01-14-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default What is the shelf life of antibiotics?



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In putting together a first aid kit one of the things I question is just how long do things like you every day cillins remain usable,like amoxicillin caps and cephlexen, or pain killers like Vicodan, tramadol? These would all be things I think would be handy to have in kit. Any Ideas??
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:32 PM
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Every type of medicine has its own particular decay rate. Usually a lot of work is put into getting a minimum of 2 years shelf life in cool dry conditions.

Most antibiotics are among the sensitive and easily denatured medicines. As proteins, or more specifically oligopeptides, they are subject to hydrolyzation, the main form of attack. Heat and moisture are the enemy.

So under tropical conditions, many can go bad in 6 months or less, while lasting a few years in good conditions.

Yeah, I've been in pharma quality control for many years.

Non-biological medicines also vary from sensitive to stable, depending on exact formulation. We have some that indicate shelf life over a thousand years. Of course we can't put that on a label, as every claim must be backed up by full term testing. Others present similar trouble as the antibiotics in being sensitive to heat and moisture.
Old 01-14-2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razadp View Post
Every type of medicine has its own particular decay rate. Usually a lot of work is put into getting a minimum of 2 years shelf life in cool dry conditions.

Most antibiotics are among the sensitive and easily denatured medicines. As proteins, or more specifically oligopeptides, they are subject to hydrolyzation, the main form of attack. Heat and moisture are the enemy.

So under tropical conditions, many can go bad in 6 months or less, while lasting a few years in good conditions.

Yeah, I've been in pharma quality control for many years.

Non-biological medicines also vary from sensitive to stable, depending on exact formulation. We have some that indicate shelf life over a thousand years. Of course we can't put that on a label, as every claim must be backed up by full term testing. Others present similar trouble as the antibiotics in being sensitive to heat and moisture.
Very interesting. What are the ones with the longer shelf lifes?
Old 01-15-2010, 06:13 PM
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Sorry, can't release anything not already certified by regulators.

The best study of using medication beyond label dates is actually done by US Army. They issue they're own internal guidelines.

Lets just say I use 6 year old ibuprofin quite happily.
Old 01-15-2010, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razadp View Post
Every type of medicine has its own particular decay rate. Usually a lot of work is put into getting a minimum of 2 years shelf life in cool dry conditions.

Most antibiotics are among the sensitive and easily denatured medicines. As proteins, or more specifically oligopeptides, they are subject to hydrolyzation, the main form of attack. Heat and moisture are the enemy.

So under tropical conditions, many can go bad in 6 months or less, while lasting a few years in good conditions.

Yeah, I've been in pharma quality control for many years.

Non-biological medicines also vary from sensitive to stable, depending on exact formulation. We have some that indicate shelf life over a thousand years. Of course we can't put that on a label, as every claim must be backed up by full term testing. Others present similar trouble as the antibiotics in being sensitive to heat and moisture.

if you take an old anitbiotic can/will it hurt you or will it just not be very effective?
Old 01-15-2010, 08:21 PM
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Most antibiotics simply become less effective. BUT, I have heard of some which become more toxic / allergenic. Unfortunately I don't have any info on which ones become which.

I do know that during my time in Singapore, gel-caps disintegrated and creams became mixtures of globs and runny mess very quickly, unless kept in air-conditioned environments all the time. (Even rubber key-chain tags turned to goo after a year or so.)

If you plan on long term storage, the individual foil packs are the best choice. Then pack them in sealed containers with dessicants to be sure.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:22 PM
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What about prescription pain killers, say for example Lortab? How long will they last and what is the best way to store them to help preserve/extend shelf life? Would vacuum sealing them help/hurt?
Old 01-20-2010, 10:24 PM
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Heres the thing about anitbiotics, you have to take the whole prescription for them to be effective. If you dont, you stand a good chance of whatever you have, coming back and being resistant to the antibiotic that you didnt finish, creating a bunch more problems. Also, if you give the wrong antibiotics, you are doing more harm than good. You cant treat a sickness with cephalosporins if they only react to sulfa based meds. Dont jack around trying to treat yourself with antibiotics. Unless of course you are a pathologist and have run cultures on yourself to see what your sickness responds to.

Vacuum sealing doesnt do any good as it is a chemical half life of the meds.
Old 01-21-2010, 01:43 PM
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Cool and dry is the blanket recommendation.

However since moisture is required for nearly all medicinal breakdowns to occur, yes vacuum sealing will help resist moisture infiltration.

Even drugs that look and feel dry will break down at various rates, depending whether moisture is 0.03% or 0.5%. More moisture enhances breakdown of nearly all drugs.

There are certain protein type molecules that DO require a minimum moisture otherwise they denature by losing the 3-D shape orientations.

Basically, read the pamphlets that come with it. They contain useful info.
Old 01-24-2010, 08:57 PM
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FYI both tetracycline and erythromycin can become toxic after they expire.
Old 02-02-2010, 06:17 AM
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I've put some Ciprofloxacin tablets into dark bottles, wrapped in foil, and added dessicant and oxygen absorbers. I keep them tucked in the freezer. Once the power is out, they should still last many years.
Old 02-02-2010, 06:45 AM
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I've taken antibiotics we used on the turkey farm before......not a good idea in any regards.....but worked. It's just hard to control the dose, not to mention questionable purity. I've often wondered if I should pick some up to have on hand for the same reason as you.
Old 02-07-2010, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razadp View Post
Most antibiotics simply become less effective. BUT, I have heard of some which become more toxic / allergenic. Unfortunately I don't have any info on which ones become which.

I do know that during my time in Singapore, gel-caps disintegrated and creams became mixtures of globs and runny mess very quickly, unless kept in air-conditioned environments all the time. (Even rubber key-chain tags turned to goo after a year or so.)

If you plan on long term storage, the individual foil packs are the best choice. Then pack them in sealed containers with dessicants to be sure.
I have heard that tetracylines (esp. doxy) actually becomes quite toxic after a time. Have not been able to substantiate this, though.
Old 02-08-2010, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickNH View Post
I've put some Ciprofloxacin tablets into dark bottles, wrapped in foil, and added dessicant and oxygen absorbers. I keep them tucked in the freezer. Once the power is out, they should still last many years.
Better to put them in the fridge, as most medications do contain some level of moisture and freezing could damage it.
Old 02-09-2010, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickNH View Post
I've put some Ciprofloxacin tablets into dark bottles, wrapped in foil, and added dessicant and oxygen absorbers. I keep them tucked in the freezer. Once the power is out, they should still last many years.
Again, the question is, do you have enough for a full prescription? If you don't, you might as well not even take them.
Old 02-20-2012, 07:38 AM
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Sorry to bump an old thread, but thought some might be interested in some linkies on this topic, anything italicised is quoting from the source. I claim no expertise in the topic, only a curiosity.

Drugs frequently potent past expiration dates

Program Extends Drug Shelf-Life
Notable extract...
In the case of ciprofloxacin, the original expiration date was 1993. With the testing the shelf life has been extended to 2001 and further testing may extend it further.

Do expiration dates make a difference?
According to Defense Department documents, the long-time winner is a pralidoxime autoinjector, originally labeled for five years and found to be potent for 18 years. Other long-life products include sodium thiosulfate (16 years), atropine sulfate (15 years), ciprofloxacin (13 years), and atropine autoinjector (10 years). Other products, Lyon noted, "fail potency testing rather soon after the original expiration. Epinephrine and mefloquine (Larium, Roche) give us a lot of problems."

But that does not mean consumers should buy a bottle of Cipro (ciprofloxacin, Bayer) and keep it for a dozen years, Lyon said. The military stockpiles drugs in the original packaging under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Even under optimal storage, SLEP finds dramatic variations in shelf life between lots. That means SLEP results cannot be extended to hospital or retail pharmacy stocks.


Drugs may outlast label dates

[I think this one is gold as it's a report from the source, not sure on copyright, so linky externally]
Shelf Life Extension Program Report doc

Product Length of Original Dating Average Total Years Extended Total Shelf Life Obtained
Atropine Sulfate 2mg/ml, 25ml multidose vial 2 years 13 years 15 years
Atropine 2mg/0.7ml Autoinjector 5 years 5 years 10 years
Atropine Sulfate Inhalation Aerosol 4 years 4 years 8 years
Pralidoxime Chloride 600mg/2ml Autoinjector 5 years 13 years 18 years
Pyridostigmine Bromide 30mg tablets 5 years 5 years 10 years
Diazepam 10mg/2ml Autoinjector 4 years 5 years 9 years
Doxycycline 100mg tablets 2 years 5 years 7 years
Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets 3 years 10 years 13 years
Sodium Nitrite 300mg/10ml vial or ampoule 2 years 8 years 10 years
Sodium Thiosulfate 12.5gm/50ml vial 2 years 14 years 16 years


-----------
Obviously you would want to make sure you kept any of these pharmaceuticals in the best conditions possible for storage, in the original containers and really, makes storing more cost effective. I also think that even if newer supplies were sought, holding onto the older manufactured date expired ones as 'backup' would make a lot of sense if they remain unused.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiney View Post
Product Length of Original Dating Average Total Years Extended Total Shelf Life Obtained
Atropine Sulfate 2mg/ml, 25ml multidose vial 2 years 13 years 15 years
Atropine 2mg/0.7ml Autoinjector 5 years 5 years 10 years
Atropine Sulfate Inhalation Aerosol 4 years 4 years 8 years
Pralidoxime Chloride 600mg/2ml Autoinjector 5 years 13 years 18 years
Pyridostigmine Bromide 30mg tablets 5 years 5 years 10 years
Diazepam 10mg/2ml Autoinjector 4 years 5 years 9 years
Doxycycline 100mg tablets 2 years 5 years 7 years
Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets 3 years 10 years 13 years
Sodium Nitrite 300mg/10ml vial or ampoule 2 years 8 years 10 years
Sodium Thiosulfate 12.5gm/50ml vial 2 years 14 years 16 years


-----------
Obviously you would want to make sure you kept any of these pharmaceuticals in the best conditions possible for storage, in the original containers and really, makes storing more cost effective. I also think that even if newer supplies were sought, holding onto the older manufactured date expired ones as 'backup' would make a lot of sense if they remain unused.
Today I've been cleaning out the medicine shelf (in the kitchen) and just started thinking that some of these things that I'm throwing out might be worth keeping for an emergency situation. So I started searching and found that the document(s) that I really would like to see (I think) are from the "shelf-life extension program", which you pulled some information from above BUT based on what I've read they test over 100 drugs... anyone know where we might find ALL of that information? It appears you need to have a .gov or a .mil address to register in order to view. Thanks for any help!
Old 02-20-2012, 01:44 PM
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Wonder if there are any hints or test to see if something goes bad, like with food. Color or something.

Can I walk into a store and buy dessicants? Putting Rice rice into a bottle of Amoxicillan work? What about the parrots that say never freeze, dry freezed amocillian pills? Do they know something they aren't elaborating on, or just confusing powder and liquid?

I think it is humorous too that Uncle Sam, even doesn't trust that doctors will always be around and alive, or near enough, so they must stock these. But shut down loopholes that will inevitiably save lives of the governed.
Old 02-20-2012, 01:59 PM
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Try this link to the patriot nurse. She has a video on this subject >
http://www.thepatriotnurse.com/?tag=antibiotics
Old 02-20-2012, 02:42 PM
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Interesting note on Ciprofloxacin, it is used to treat anthrax.

Quote:
Ciprofloxacin is used to treat or prevent certain infections caused by bacteria. Ciprofloxacin is also used to treat or prevent anthrax (a serious infection that may be spread on purpose as part of a bioterror attack) in people who may have been exposed to anthrax germs in the air.

Other uses for this medicine

In the event of biological warfare, ciprofloxacin may be used to treat and prevent dangerous illnesses that are deliberately spread such as plague, tularemia, and anthrax of the skin or mouth. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
Source:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000878/

Known side effect of Ciprofloxacin tendonitis.
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