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Have you ever looked into your medicine cabinet and found an older bottle of painkillers with an expiration date from one year ago? Most people toss that bottle into the trash because the medicine has expired. This may just be a big waste of money.....
We are learning those antibiotics and other drugs are generally effective far past the expiration date on that bottle, according to Harvard Medical School's Family Health Guide.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the military commissioned the FDA to test more than 100 drugs in the mid-1990's. They found 90 percent of both prescription and over-the-counter medications were safe well past their expiration dates.
Not only were these drugs safe, they were also just as effective as they were prior to the expiration date. In fact, some of these drugs still maintained their effectiveness as much as eight to fifteen years longer. These results are still proving to be true with more recent tests in the 2000's.
So why have an expiration date? Manufacturers are required to stamp the date at which they guarantee the product’s full potency. This is required by a 1979 federal law that all drug companies are required to comply with.
Therefore, don’t be fooled into thinking you will turn into an upchucking, pill-heaving cat if you swallow expired medication. It’s more likely you will achieve the same benefits as unexpired medication. Worse case, you will be swallowing a placebo and likely fool yourself into thinking it worked!
Prescription drugs aren't cheap! Don’t throw away money by automatically trashing these medications.
If you are unsure about your specific medication, check with your pharmacist who will know exactly how to advise you.