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Is it dangerous to take expired medicines?



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Photo: Stephen Swintek / Getty Images

You have a throbbing headache and open the bathroom bucket to grab acetaminophen or naproxen just to realize that these are over-the-counter painkillers have expired more than a year to go to the store, sit there and suffer? Consider the following:

Is it safe to take expired medicines?

"Basically, there's no danger of taking any drug after the expiration date," says Robert Glatter, MD, Northwell Health Assistant Emergency Medical Assistant and Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency Doctor. "The only conceivable risk is that the drug may not retain its original efficacy, but there is no danger of the toxicity of the drug itself or its problems related to its breakdown or by-products." While various drugs vary in their expiration dates the majo The number of over-the-counter medications will expire within two to three years, he says. (What about expired protein powder? Find out if it's okay to use it or if you need to throw it.)

If you're curious about expired vitamins and supplements, here's a funny fact: manufacturers of these products post According to The New York Times the labels do not have to bear expiration dates. And that's partly because the FDA does not regulate vitamins and supplements. When manufacturers decide to indicate an expiration date on a vitamin or supplemental label, the rule is that they "must meet these claims". Basically, this means that manufacturers are required by law to have "stability data showing that the product still has 1

00 percent of its listed ingredients by that date," said Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, New York Times . Translation: If you take a vitamin after it is "best" or "used up", there is no guarantee that it will retain its original potency.

Why are expiration dates required?

drug expiration dates are required by the FDA and still have a specific purpose. The goal is to tell people that medicines are not only safe, but are also effective for patients says dr. Smoother. But many people are just not sure what security is associated with this data, let alone its effectiveness. In addition, manufacturers do not need to test the effectiveness of a product beyond the expiration date, so it is often an unknown variable. Because of this gray area, most consumers tend to simply discard pills that might otherwise be in order . And then they spend more money on new medicines.

Suppliers are not required by law to provide expiration dates on the labels of their products. Normally, the average shelf-life of bottle vitamins is about two years, but it may also depend on the type of vitamin and how and where you store it. However, do not be too specific: just like with expired medications, the ingestion of vitamins and supplements after their expiration date will not harm your body. They could only be a little less strong. (See also: Are personalized vitamins really worth it?)

There is, however, a significant risk to consider.

Although taking the expired medicine will not hurt you, its effectiveness has probably diminished over time. Depending on the purpose of the drug, this can be risky.

"If you have sore throat and are taking out expired amoxicillin, the antibiotic will still work, but possibly at 80 to 90 percent of its original potency." sufficient to treat the infection, says dr. Smoother. However, expired and debilitated drugs for serious illness or allergies can be a different story.

"For example, EpiPens can be used after the expiration date of up to one year, but efficacy can be reduced by 30 to 50 percent in some cases," he says. "This could endanger some patients who have a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis," he says. (PS is expired food really bad for you?)

And if you think you can just take twice the dose of over-the-counter OTC analgesics to achieve the usual effectiveness with less. Smoother "Never take more than the recommended dose, as it may have a negative effect on your kidneys or liver, depending on how the drug is metabolised or removed from your body," he says. (Note that medicines such as ibuprofen contain warnings on liver and kidney damage related to high doses on the label, so do not exceed the maximum daily allowance unless advised by a doctor.)

The Quintessence: In principle, all medications – including vitamins and supplements – can get a little less over the months or years, but this alone does not lead to unwanted side effects. "When a drug expires, the problem is that it may not have the desired effect, whether it's fever, growth of bacteria or fungus, pain relief, or low blood pressure," says Dr. Smoother. "It's not that the expired drug itself is dangerous, or that there are toxic metabolites that could harm you." Consider the purpose of the drug and the symptoms and symptoms it deals with, and discuss potential dangers in good time with a physician. If a weakened drug can be a disaster for your health, contact the pharmacy or call your doctor immediately. Better yet, keep a supply of important (and unexpired) medicines ready for the next time a hangover (er, headache) occurs.


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