As consumers, we have been trained to be wary of expiration dates. From the food we eat, to the ingredients we buy, and sometimes even the shoes we wear. These products all have a shelf life that usually ranges from a week or two to one or two years.

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When it comes to medicine, people are especially conscious of the expiration date because people believe that medicines stop becoming effect when they are expired.

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However according to a recent study published in ‘Psychopharmacology Today’, 90% of more than a hundred drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter were are still perfectly effective and safe even 15 years past its expiration date.

Since 1979, drug manufacturers were required to stamp expiration date on their products guaranteeing full potency and safety, but the expiration date of medicine is not what we think it is.

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An article from Harvard Health said, “It’s true the effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even a decade after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications are as long-lasting as the ones tested by the military. Placing a medication in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years. A rare exception to this may be tetracycline, but the report on this is controversial among researchers.”

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So the question in the end is this: if expiration date for medicine is a marketing tactic by drug manufacturers to increase sales, should you still buy unexpired medicine or should you just take the expired ones stored in your shelves?

If you really want to get the best results possible then re-stock your shelves every so often and take the unexpired ones. Because in some cases, expired ones become less effective and you might need the medicine that are 100% effective. However it’s still the best case to ask your pharmacist about the expired medicine if you do plan on taking them.

 

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/drug-expiration-dates-do-they-mean-anything

 

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