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Six Dangers of Expiry Dated Medicines

December 11, 2011  by: Paulose  Points: 20   Category: Health    Views: 1259

Each and every medical package should contain the details about the expiry date of the medicine. If it not properly taken care of, it may lead to reverse effects.


The power of packed medicines expires after a certain period. One of the most important things a consumer must do is to look into the expiry date printed on the package and label of the product. Many times this is neglected while buying or using medicine. Many people do not know at all about the expiration date. But the fact is that medications may have reverse effects when they are used after their expiry date.

Expiry date

Expiry date indicates a date after which the medicine should not be used. The manufacturing company, based on various experiments, fixes this expiry date and it has to be printed on the container in which the medicine is packed and supplied. All medications, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, should have expiration dates and should be discarded after the expiry date.

Medicines used after their expiry dates are dangerous

Though using medications after their expiry dates may not always be dangerous, the medicines can become weak and possibly ineffective after the particular date. Medicines in the form of pill or liquid may often change in color and consistency. There are cases when the expiry dated medicines have given negative results. Hence it is always advisable to look for the expiry date and avoid using them.

Six dangers of the expiry dated medicines

1) Drug decomposition

Just like any other consumable things, medicine also starts degrading the moment it is manufactured. Heat (temperature), light and moisture are the main factors responsible for the degradation of the drug. It important to maintain the recommended storage condition printed on the package.

2) The medicine may turn toxic

Drug decomposition (retention of potency) is not the only reason for checking of the expiry date. The degraded product may also become toxic after the due date. A physical change may also affect the medicine. The medicine must be stable to be physically, chemically, therapeutically and toxicologically.

3) The medicine must be discarded after the shelf-period

The time period between the date of manufacturing and the expiry date is called the shelf-life period of a medicine. In order to maintain a good shelf-life, the manufacturing company, sometimes, adds excess quantity of active or medicinal ingredient. The purpose of adding excess quantity is to maintain the minimum standard of potency required till the expiry date. Usually, the medicines available in solid forms have more shelf-life than those in the liquid forms. Taking a medicine beyond this shelf-life period may affect the user adversely causing more problems.

4) Sometimes the medicine is dangerous even before the expiry date

Sometimes the medicine may expire well before the expiry date printed on the label if the retail drug outlets or drugstores are not well equipped for appropriate storage conditions. Hence avoid buying medicines nearing the expiry date.

5) Medicine has become a commercial commodity of globalization

Things have changed much and everything has become business in the modern world. Most of the times the ethical values are neglected even in the medical field causing fatal damages. Advertisements with attractive promises are misleading the consumers. Hence there should a vigilant watch over the norms of medical supply.

6) Discard the medicines after the expiry date

Keeping the medicines after their expiry date is always dangerous. Hence throw them away to avoid further negative effects.


Author: joeldgreat        
Posted Date: 12/12/2011    Points:4    

Have packed a medicines on our medicine cabinet as part of our first aid. Every year my wife always replace all medicines on it. They are all over the counter and are not that too expensive. Even medicines that has not expired yet were replaced. It may not sound practical but because they are kept in a non-controlled environment, then we do not really know if they are still fit for use. As you have said, medicine which are already expired losses or weakens its effectiveness. Its better to be safe than never.

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