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Old 01-08-2009, 10:58 AM
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Default Meds past expiration date....



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How long can prescription medications and OTC vitamins and medications be kept before spoilage?

I know it is (usually) much longer than the posted expiration date.

Also, under what conditions can medications be stored to maximize shelf life?
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:16 PM
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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.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking Josh View Post
I think most meds have no expiration, but only have it on there so people buy more.


I generally agree.

There are a few meds that degrade into something toxic after a few years but thats a rare thing usually. Wish I could remember what they were.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:02 PM
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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.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:03 PM
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Gel caps last quite some time, but tablets with sugar or flavor start going "off". Their colour changes and they start sticking together. I don't know if I'd take them at that point.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:23 PM
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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.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:35 PM
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During my Army days it was commonplace for the pharmacy to extend most pills beyond their exp. date. It was usually 1-2 years. Injectables are a different story. Anything that WAS clear and is now turbid...toss it.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:53 AM
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Meidcations can take along time to spoil but vitamins you have to watch out for particularly fish oil... I got sick from taking fish pills after the expiration date REALLY sick.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:39 PM
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I notice some of the old meds are kinda weaker. That is probably good to know in some cases.

Also I wonder if the way pills are handled, makes any difference or not. Here they are basically not touched by human hands, pharmacy staff do not handle the pills. They usually don't come in bottles. They come in blister packs. One side is foil and the other side is plastic. Only med I take that comes in a bottle (factory prepacked and sealed), is thyroid med.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:59 PM
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Some antibiotics can become toxic if left around too long, other than that most are ok for several years at least.
Store cool, dry, away from light.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:27 PM
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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.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:45 PM
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Up to 1600 years?! Never imagined any drug could last that long.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure most (well a lot) of technically expired drugs are sold to developing countries.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:55 PM
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Default Keeps up to 2,700 years

I think the Chinese have figured out how to store drugs for a VERY long time.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28034925/
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:11 PM
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Most prescriptions are toxic from the day the Pharmacist shoves them across the counter. They are designed to mask symptoms, not cure.

Find a cure.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:42 PM
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They should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place to maximize potency. Most just loose potency over time (years) I forgot what the rate was, a certain percentage is lost per year. A think less become toxic.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kregener View Post
Most prescriptions are toxic from the day the Pharmacist shoves them across the counter. They are designed to mask symptoms, not cure.

Find a cure.
Hear hear, I agree completely.
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:29 AM
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See post 15
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:58 AM
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[QUOTE=smzee27;444837]Up to 1600 years?! Never imagined any drug could last that long.QUOTE]


I never would've thought it either, but maybe some chemicals have a 'half life' similar to some radioactives?
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kregener View Post
Most prescriptions are toxic from the day the Pharmacist shoves them across the counter. They are designed to mask symptoms, not cure.

Find a cure.
Never had an badly abscessed tooth have you?
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:47 PM
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The below is mostly about the longevity of stored medications, but it also has some interesting information regarding the oft-repeated maxim that old tetracycline can kill you. I have bolded that part. It's interesting to note that it was ONE case, 47 years ago. Also, they sum up the whole article pretty well at the end.


Stay Safe,
AGreyMan



The Medical Letter

On Drugs and Therapeutics
www.medicalletter.org
Published by The Medical Letter, Inc. •1000 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801 •A Nonprofit Publication
Vol. 44 (W1142B)
October 28, 2002
REPRODUCED FOR
ONLINE USERS
DRUGS PAST THEIR EXPIRATION DATE

Physicians and pharmacists are often asked if patients can use drugs after their expiration date. Pharmaceutical companies, because of legal restrictions and liability concerns, will not sanction such use and may not even comment on the safety or effectiveness of using their products beyond the date on the label.

THE EXPIRATION DATE — The expiration date on the manufacturer’s package is based on the stability of the drug in its original closed container. The date does not necessarily mean that the drug was found to be unstable after a longer period; it means only that real-time data or extrapolations from accelerated degradation studies indicate that the drug will still be stable at that date. The expiration date for new drugs is usually 2-3 years from the date of manufacture. Once the original container is opened for use or dispensing, the expiration date on the container no longer applies. Retail pharmacists who repackage drugs, in accordance with the standards of the US Pharmacopoeia (USP), label them with a "beyond-use" date, generally one year from the date the prescription is filled.

SAFETY — The only report of human toxicity that may have been caused by chemical or physical degradation of a pharmaceutical product is renal tubular damage that was associated with use of degraded tetracycline (GW Frimpter et al, JAMA 1963; 184:111). Current tetracycline preparations have been reformulated with different fillers to minimize degradation and are unlikely to have this effect.

STABILITY — Shelf life is the time a product, stored under reasonable conditions, is expected to remain stable (generally retain greater than 90% of potency) (B Kommanaboyina and CT Rhodes, Drug Dev Ind Pharm 1999; 25:857). Data from the Department of Defense/FDA Shelf Life Extension Program, which tests the stability of drug products past their expiration date, showed that 84% of 1,122 lots of 96 different drug products stored in military facilities in their unopened original containers would be expected to remain stable for an average of 57 months after their original expiration date (JS Taylor et al, 2002 FDA Science Forum Poster Abstract, Board AC-08, www.fda.gov, search "2002 FDA science forum"). Storage in high humidity may interfere with the dissolution characteristics of some oral formulations. In one published study, however, captopril (Capoten) tablets, flucloxacillin sodium (Flucloxin) capsules (a penicillin not available in the US), cefoxitin sodium (Mefoxin) powder for injection and theophylline (Theo-Dur) tablets stored under both ambient and "stress" (40C and 75% relative humidity) conditions remained chemically and physically stable for 1.5-9 years beyond their expiration dates (G Stark et al, Pharm J 1997; 258:637). Amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantidine (Flumadine) remained stable after storage for 25 years under ambient conditions, and retained full antiviral activity after boiling and holding at 65-85C for several days (C Schol-tissek and RG Webster, Antiviral Res 1998; 38:213). In another report, theophylline retained 90% of potency for about 30 years (R Regenthal et al, Hum Exp Toxicol 2002; 21:343).

LIQUID DRUGS — Drugs in liquid form (solutions and suspensions) are not as stable as solid dosage forms. Suspensions are especially susceptible to freezing. Drugs in solution, particularly injectables, that have become cloudy or discolored or show signs of precipitation should not be used. When oral drugs are in solution with dyes, however, color changes may be due to degradation of the dye and not the drug. Epinephrine in EpiPen injections loses potency after its expiration date; in one study, 5 of 7 autoinjectors contained less than 90% of the labeled epinephrine content 10 months after the expiration date, without necessarily being discolored or showing signs of precipitation (FER Simons et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000; 105:1025). Drugs prepared by addition of a solvent before dispensing or administration (such as suspensions of antibiotics for oral use or lyophilized drugs in vials for parenteral use) tend to be relatively unstable in the liquid state. With ophthalmic drugs, the limiting factor may not be the stability of the drug, but the continued ability of the preservative to inhibit microbial growth.

CONCLUSION — There are virtually no reports of toxicity from degradation products of outdated drugs. How much of their potency they retain varies with the drug and the storage conditions, especially humidity, but many drugs stored under reasonable conditions retain 90% of their potency for at least 5 years after the expiration date on the label, and sometimes much longer.
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