I’m stuck at home alone with a stinking cold. I’ve found some old pseudoephedrine in a drawer with an exp. date of 11/10. Would it do me any harm to take this, or would it simply not work as well as a fresh batch?
It’s four years out of date. I certainly wouldn’t! (A couple of months is one thing, but four years? Ummmm…)
It will be interesting to see what the docs/pharmacists on the site say!
Well, it won’t transform into nerve gas or dioxine… I’d be happy to use it, even if fifty years expired!
It may be less potent than expected, but it doesn’t morph into poison on some particular date. I would take it, but head to the drug store tomorrow to get something more current.
Interesting thread. I knew mine was outdated, and just got up to check: expir. 08/10. I just took some yesterday. It worked just fine, and I’m still allri
Probably not dangerous. Few drugs degrade into dangerous compounds over time. We’re not even certain that tetracycline, the most famous example of a drug that supposedly becomes toxic with age, really does so. Most likely, the drugs slowly become less effective.
The Master speaks on this topic here: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3040/will-using-expired-drugs-kill-you
I read where expired, or close to expired medicines like aspirin, or vitamins, are sent to poor countries. They aren’t poisonous and still are effective.
How would this work? Are there organizations that take expired meds to give to the poor? It seems like the liability problems would be huge, even in parts of the world that aren’t sue-happy. For instance, how would you ensure that the drugs in an opened container matched the label?
Agreed. If it’s been stored properly (i.e. not in the kitchen or bathroom :dubious: ) it should be OK.
I’m imagining a chest-burster busting out of OP’s torso after having taken old medicine
I would assume they mean unopened “expired” stock from drug store shelves. Collected opened containers for export or other use would indeed be a bad idea all around…
Well I took it and I’m still alive. Having said that, it didn’t seem to do much good. I’ll pop the pharmacy tomorrow to get some new, see if that works.
I wouldn’t take that stuff if it was in date. Just saying.
I’d take it.
Drug companies are required to test that their stuff is still safe and potent for as long aas they claim it is good. That’s expensive for them, and it means you are less likely to go out and buy new drugs, so they have no incentive to test or label for much shelf life.
No doubt some drugs break down over time. Aspirin does so rather obviously (and develops a charcteristic vinegar smell.) A few drugs are believed to turn toxic. Most drugs are pretty stable. Stashes of opium that were buried with mummies were supposed to have stiff been effective. Maybe that’s just a story, but I have some opiate drugs that are decades old and work fine, I just need to take less, because some of the alcohol evaporated off and the drugs are more potent per teaspoon. (You can pry my childhood bottle of paragoric syrup out of my cold dead hands. I almost never use it, but every couple of years I get a stomach bug and BOY does it do the trick.)
The same goes for popcorn! And Honey!
And lotus seeds retain the ability to germinate for thousands of years. Think about that, that’s effectively life spontaneously arranging itself (for surely after thousands of years all metabolic action has ceased).
And this leads me to suspect that the real reason for many expiration date issues is the bloodsucking lawyers who say that zomg you could be sued!!11!!11one if you give someone an expired drug and they are somehow harmed, but if the drug was not expired, the fault would fall on the drug manufacturer, not you. So it’s not about protecting sick people, it’s about CMA. Great world.
During the early days of the AIDS crisis, there were many organizations collecting unused AIDS medications (mostly from patients who had died) and providing them to other sick people, either here in the US or in other countries.
Possibly risking something from lawsuit-happy lawyers, but with a life expectancy measured in months, that wasn’t very compelling.
My doctor tells me that drug companies are required to post dates, but they really have no idea how long their drugs actually last, so they pick something safe, that they can easily test, and of course, the shorter the date the more they sell (up to a practical limit).
Meanwhile, they try very hard to avoid selling drugs that have dangerous decomposition products, for the obvious reasons.
I suppose that would have been a worthy exception; those drugs were insanely expensive back then, and the disease is so insanely awful. Especially if they were individually wrapped, I cannot image many potential issues worse than the disease itself.