Myth vs Reality

A drug expiration date can be deceiving. You are sure that these little pills work the same, and do you really want to spend all that money just to buy the same drug? Studies show, you might be right in your reluctancy to not trust expiration dates. Drug expiration dates are the last day that a manufacturer can guarantee the maximum potency under all conditions the drugs are put in, and unless your drugs sit in a sauna, they probably last a lot longer. In fact, in a study of over 100 drugs, 90% of the pills were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics. Drugs that exist in capsule or tablet form tend to retain their potency long past the expiration date in contrast to refrigerated or solution based drugs. The Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) found that “88% of 122 different drugs stored under ideal conditions [Cold and dry environments should have their expiration dates extended more than 1 year, with an average extension of 66 months.” There you are with the pil settled in your stomach. Should you be freaking out? No. Will the pill work almost just as well? Yes. However, if the pill loses the kick it once had don’t be surprised, and contact your doctor if you feel something unusual. Expire Esquire out!

Reference: African Health Sciences, Makerere Medical School, Drug expiry debate: the myth and the reality,

Photo Credit: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)