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Thread: Meds past expiration date.... Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-07-2020 10:34 AM
goat daddy expiration dates only remind us to refill or replace the item. In a time of chaos we will take what we have. Only a fool would pass up medication due to a past date if there was no replacement available. I look at herbal and homeopathic medication as B.S. But in a time of chaos they some may be of benefit. part of being prepared is doing your homework and learning what is out there.
01-06-2020 06:38 PM
Originally Posted by speedofl33t View Post
The way I heard it, nitroglycerin, epinephrine and tetracycline, althought I try to confirm the first 2 with little success.

Rule of thumb is liquid medicines disintegrate pretty fast while solid pills stay OK a lot longer.
The expiration date of medications is for potency. Some medications lose potency faster than others as the ingredients break down and become inert.

Nitroglycerin (NTG) is heat, light, and oxygen-sensitive. NTG will degrade if it isn't kept in a cool dark environment. Once a NTG container is opened and exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere, it begins to degrade as well. Cardiac patients are advised to get a replacement bottle after they open a bottle, which should be discarded in 30 days. If you place a NTG tablet under your tongue and do not get a headache, then most likely the NTG is inert.

As long as an Epi Pen has been stored in optimal conditions, a recent study showed that epinephrine will maintain 90-95% of its potency four years post-expiration date. The problem is, most people who carry an Epi Pen with them all the time, do not maintain optimal storage conditions and it may lose potency past the expiration date and be ineffective during an emergency.

Tetracycline can degrade, after the expiration date, and cause kidney failure is some people who take it as well as being ineffective as an antibiotic.
01-06-2020 03:36 PM
KS_Guy We recently used the last of our 10 year old Motrin. Relieved pain and like a new bottle would.
01-06-2020 01:07 PM
Originally Posted by dirtyape View Post
I recently read an article where the FDA conducted a test of prescription meds. The test was for US Army curiosity and they found that many of the meds tested 20+ years after the expiration date still had 90% potency.

I save all meds.
The Patriot Nurse did a lot of (3?)videos about just this subject. Look in You Tube and see if you can find them. Hey: I just saw they are still listed.

I just saw Canadian Prepper has some also. I haven't looked at them yet.

There are some bad drugs to store long term. Ask your drug department people and your doctor. Some will not tell you to "cover their butt."

I have drugs 10+ years old that still work for the purpose. No side affects....
01-06-2020 11:38 AM
goat daddy We had a poster on the wall at work. Most all drugs last beyond the bottle date. but they do not all breakdown at the same rate. some were only good for years others decades. I suggest you do your research on the drugs that you take.
01-03-2020 10:21 AM
Reasonable Rascal People often mistake the word "toxic" with poisonous - they do not mean the same.

01-03-2020 08:05 AM
wldwsel Let's assume your are in a full blown SHTF event. Infrastructure is gone and is not coming back in your lifetime. FEMA is not going to pull into your driveway with an 18 wheeler full of "stuff" you need with a current "use by" date. You, because you can't bathe but once a month, are filthy all the time and scrape your knee on barbed wire, "come along" vines, whatever, and it accesses into blood poisoning.

Your neighbor, friend, whatever, has some expired fish antibiotics. You are in agony (serious blood infections are very painful, I know from personal experience). Are you telling me your wouldn't at least give them a try, along with the out of date food you have well cooked? If so, been nice knowing you. If the stuff IS toxic, been nice knowing you.

Many of the folks here have an idea the big SHTF events will be an inconvenience. Nothing could be further from the truth. They will be the end of the world as we know it.


shoot straight - stay safe
01-03-2020 07:51 AM
Originally Posted by razadp View Post
Ahem - I've worked in the pharma biz as an analytical chemist for a lot of years.

There is no 'general rule' for how long drugs last. It all depends on the chemistry of that drug. However, there are some guidelines regarding hydrolysis rates most of which are too complex to talk about to non-chemists.

Protein drugs have a short life - ie enzymes, hormones, antibiotics. Most likely they will 'go bad' fairly close after the expiration date.

Humidity and heat is the biggest degrader of any drug. Therefore the bathroom cabinet is a bad idea, if you regularly get foggy mirrors. The cabinet above the stove is bad. Anywhere in sunshine or directly exposed to fluorescent light is bad, as UV is also a common degradent.

However, as any time a company claims a 'good until date', they have to back that up by extensive studies of hundreds of analyses of multiple batches, in every packaging style that drug is sold, for the full length claimed. That gets expensive. So any drug that looks like it will last over 2 years, gets a 2 year label.

I've heard of our labs finding a 'probable stability time' of 1200 yrs plus or minus 400 years. It got a 2 year label.

Personally, I use my generic ibuprofen until its gone, usually several years past its date.
Does freeze drying help some of those drugs ? Or even freezing ?
01-03-2020 02:50 AM
kappydell one of my military medical manuals had an index in the back giving extended times for meds - most were good long beyond their 'expiry' date. It also listed alternate meds one could substitute for one that you might not have available.
Hesperian Press "Where there is no doctor" states that the 'cillins' (pennicillin, amoxicillin, etc) lost potency slowly but were safe to increase dosage of to make up for it. Research carefully, but the info IS out there.
01-03-2020 12:39 AM
Exarmyguy I have lot of expired pain meds but I dont know how long they are good. I have had motion sickness pills that were old and I figured they would work. I puked for 8 hours on a fishing charter learning that mistake.
01-02-2020 11:03 PM
Big_John Antibiotics could be worth their weight in gold in a SHTF situation.

I would like to better understand this notion that Penicillin can go toxic.

If I have some 'left over' Penicillin hard pills after a root canal..... how long can I keep them? 6 months.... 1 year.... 3 years.... 5 years?

How are they best kept.... Frig or just in the medicine cabinet????

Hypothetically..... SHTF kicks off and one of mine has a gun shot wound....... Yeah, I want to feed them Penicillin I have kept.
08-31-2019 06:51 AM
Dude111 Nope its mostly Greed.......
08-03-2019 06:10 PM
Heaththereef A nurse friend of mine told me that for the most part medications dont really expire.
05-20-2019 11:43 AM
Central Scrutinizer The VA hospital also researched this and found that after 10 years most drugs maintained most of there effectiveness. Antibiotics, Nitro and a few others you would not want to risk. The shame of all these drugs being thrown away is that they end up in our water supply. That is a large amount of drugs. Think of all those 30 day supplies that folks stopped taking after a week because they felt well.

I keep my medicines. In fact I have a supply of Oxy that is very old because I have about 6 kidney stones that could attack me at any moment and I would rather not stand in line at the ER ever again waiting for a pain pill. Getting a new supply of Oxy is impossible these days unless you present symptoms etc.
05-20-2019 10:40 AM
dmas While many meds keep longer than printed date, some out of date drugs are donated in third world countries, others do not. A couple that come to mind are nitro. And insulin which may have a printed date 3 years out, refrigerated, may keep only a month or so once opened. Lantus says to discard after 28 days after opening regardless of keeping it in a fridge.
05-20-2019 07:53 AM
johnmcd Here's a good article on the subject of drug expiration dates:

It re-iterates many of the points already made in this thread.
05-18-2019 03:38 AM
Agent Jay I have Hydrocodone pills that are over 10 years old and still work. I have 800mg Motrin pills that are almost 8 years old and they still work. But don't screw around with antibiotics, especially in liquid form. They'll go toxic from what I've heard.
05-10-2012 01:51 PM
Originally Posted by Viking Josh
My grandma has meds that are over 20 years old, and she uses them every so often.

I think most meds have no expiration, but only have it on there so people buy more.
Exactly what I have always thought..... BIG PHARMA is greedy and wants you to keep spending $$$$
05-10-2012 11:19 AM
English_Chef Interesting thread.

I have a pretty good stock of broad spectrum antibiotics (Oxytetracycline) which I can rotate at the moment and are good on the packet until 2014, but should I not be able to add to/rotate them for any reason I would like to know how long they are 'good' for.

Any antibiotic is going to be useful if there are no docs or chemists for whatever reason.
05-07-2012 09:17 PM
scon86 most expiration dates are used to mark a drugs Efficacy, or the point where the medication is the most "potent". after this date most medications will start to degrade and lose its potency therefore the medication will still work but not to the full extent. why all types of medications are affected by heat and humidity, liquid medications are also affected by sun light, so storage is very important
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