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Old 01-08-2009, 09:58 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, 11:16 AM
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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, 11:31 AM
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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, 03:02 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, 03:03 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, 03:23 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, 03:35 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, 06:53 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, 11:39 AM
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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, 04:59 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, 05:27 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, 04:45 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, 06:55 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, 07:11 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, 09:42 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, 06:23 AM
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Accidentally double posted, PLEASE DELETE THIS POST
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:24 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, 12:29 AM
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See post 15
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:58 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, 01:18 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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