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Can You Take Expired Antibiotics

Can You Take Expired Antibiotics Do They Lose Their Potency And Efficacy

Can You Take Expired Drugs?

The potency and efficacy of antibiotics or any other medications will start degrading from the point of manufacture. But further testing has been carried out on this.

Ongoing research states that if the right storage conditions are met, medications including antibiotics can retain 90% of their potency for up to as much as 15 years after expiration.

Therefore, it is believed that antibiotics can retain a significant portion of potency for up to 10 years after their expiration date.

The best evidence that antibiotics and other similar medications may retain their potency beyond expiration is the Shelf Life Extension Program undertaken by the FDA for the Department of Defense. This program was carried out to reduce medication costs for the military.

The SLEP program found that around 88% of 122 medications, including antibiotics, retained potency for more than one year. The program determined that the average expiration extension should be 66 months and a maximum extension of 278 months, depending on the medication, of course.

Its also important within the question, can you take expired antibiotics, to add that these antibiotics were stored in optimal storage conditions. These may be different conditions than many people would store them. More on storage shortly.

Can I Take 2 Year Expired Amoxycillin

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Antibiotics Should Be Used Immediately As Prescribed But Most Can Last At Least A Year

Most prescribed antibiotics are suitable for one year.

“Almost all antibiotics are prescribed for a full course, and therefore there should not be any leftovers,” Langdon said. “In the case of daily or chronic use, one year from dispensing is the safe expiration date.”

Liquid antibiotics need to be reconstituted after the expiration date the pharmacist gives, so they should be used immediately.

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Expired Medicines Can Be Risky

Expired medical products can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength. Certain expired medications are at risk of bacterial growth and sub-potent antibiotics can fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance. Once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective. If your medicine has expired, do not use it.

According to the DEA many people dont know how to properly clean out their medicine cabinets. Failing to safely dispose of old medications, especially opioids, all too often leads to dangerous drugs ending up in the wrong hands. The CDC reports that 50,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasnt looking.

Finally, expired medicines are also not just a risk to the person they were prescribed for and can injure children and pets if taken by mistake. For all these reasons, proper disposal of unneeded medicines is essential.

Why You Shouldnt Take Expired Medication

Can You Take Expired Drugs?

There are other safety concerns attached to using expired medication. According to the FDA, certain medications are made without additional preservatives. These meds are more at risk for bacterial growth, which can often be unseen or undetected until after the medication has been administered.

Having expired medications sitting around the house can also lead to them being accidentally ingested by a child, household pet, or in some cases, both at once. Thus, its important to properly dispose of these medications.

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Amoxicillin Dosage Forms And Expiration Dates

Now, the dosage form we are talking about is important when it comes to expiration dates.

There are multiple amoxicillin products on the market, all of which carry different expiration dates. Common amoxicillin products include:

  • Amoxicillin capsules
  • Amoxicillin chewable tablets
  • Amoxicillin suspension

I get into more detail regarding expiration dates for amoxicillin in the next sections, but in general:

  • Solid dosage forms of amoxicillin have a set manufacturer expiration date of two to three years from the date of production. This is the date that will be imprinted on the ‘stock bottle’ stored at the pharmacy.
  • Liquid dosage forms of amoxicillin, which are stored as powders in the pharmacy that need to be mixed with water prior to dispensing, also carry a two to three-year expiration as long as they have not been mixed with water yet. Once they are mixed with water , they expire after 14 days.
  • Every state has different legal requirements regarding the expiration date that must be labeled on a dispensed prescription. However, most states and pharmacies use a one-year expiration after the medication has been dispensed.

You may be wondering why a dispensed prescription very often has an expiration date that is sooner than the manufacturer’s listed date. This is simply a way of ensuring product potency once the product has left the pharmacy.

Expired Drugs May Remain Effective Safe To Use In A Pinch

By Carolyn Crist

5 Min Read

– Even medicines that are years past their expiration date and havent always been kept in strict climate-controlled conditions may still retain their original potency, a small study suggests.

That is good news for people working in remote areas of the world where sometimes an expired medication is the only one available and the alternative is having no way to treat a serious illness, the study authors write in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine.

The expiry date on a drug packet is the last date a drug company will guarantee the drug content and stability when stored in the recommended conditions and in the original packaging, said lead study author Dr. Emma Browne of the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit in Plymouth, UK.

This date is not necessarily the point at which the drug becomes ineffective or dangerous, and for many medications, this window may be far longer than the usual two-to-three-year expiry date, she told Reuters Health by email.

In some parts of the world, doctors face the difficulty of getting medicine more than once a year. It can also be costly for small communities or expedition groups to replace unused drugs just in case, she added.

They tested five types of drug, all one to four years past expiration, and compared these to fresh samples of the same medications to see if the expired versions were chemically stable and retained their active ingredient.

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Is Expired Medicine Safe To Take

It happens to everybodyyou have a headache or feel sick, and you head to the medicine cabinet to get something to help. But once you get there and pull out that prescription drug or over-the-counter medication, you see the expiration date has flown by. So what do you do? Take it or throw it away? Its a judgment call that, depending on the medication, could have serious consequences.

Is It Safe To Take Expired Medications

Is it safe to take expired medications? | VERIFY

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends never taking drugs beyond their expiration date as it is risky with many unknown variables. For example, how your drug is stored before you receive it, chemical make-up, and original manufacturing date can all affect potency of a drug.

In 1963, a report was published that tied degraded tetracycline use with a form of renal tubular damage known as “Fanconi Syndrome” however, that formulation of tetracycline in no longer marketed in the U.S.1, 11, and many medical experts question the results of this case report.

Solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules, appear to be most stable past their expiration date. Drugs that exist in solution or as a reconstituted suspension, and that require refrigeration , may not have the required potency if used when outdated. Loss of potency can be a major health concern, especially when treating an infection with an antibiotic. Additionally, antibiotic resistance may occur with sub-potent medications.

Drugs that exist in solution, especially injectable drugs, should be discarded if the product forms a precipitant or looks cloudy or discolored.1

Liquid drugs such as eye or ear solutions, oral liquids, or topical solutions may undergo evaporation of solvents over time.11

Expired medications that contain preservatives, such as ophthalmic drops, may be unsafe past their expiration date.1 Outdated preservatives may allow bacterial growth in the solution.

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Why Do Medicines Have Expiry Dates

Medicines have expiry dates so you know when to use them by. After the expiry date medicines may not be safe or as effective.

You should not take medicines after their expiry date. If you’ve had a medicine for a while, check the expiry date before using it.

You should also make sure that you’ve stored the medicine properly, as described on the packaging or leaflet.

If your medicine looks, tastes or smells different to when you first got it, even if it’s within the expiry date, take it to your pharmacist for advice.

Why Medications Have Expiration Dates

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration began requiring expiration dates to be listed on all over-the-counter and prescription medications in 1979.

The need for expiration dates is rooted in the fact that medications degrade over time, as well as when exposed to external factors like light and humidity. It’s important to know how long and under what conditions a medication remains both safe and effective.

As a result, drug manufacturers are tasked with testing a medication’s longevity and determining an expiration date accordingly and there’s no guarantee that a medication is still safe or effective beyond this date.

The FDA takes a very firm stance on expired medication, stating that “using expired medical products is risky and possibly harmful to your health” and providing advice on how to properly dispose of expired medication.

The three primary reasons the FDA strongly discourages the use of expired medications are:

  • The chemical composition and potency of a medication can change over time.
  • Holding on to unused drugs may promote prescription drug misuse and abuse, a dangerous practice that is growing at an alarming rate in the U.S.
  • A well-managed medicine cabinet reduces the risk of a child or pet mistakenly taking medications.
  • So, when it comes to expired medication, the FDA’s message is clear: If your medicine has expired, do not use it.

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    How To Store Antibiotics To Retain Potency Beyond The Expiry Date

    The best and most obvious way to store antibiotics is to follow any storage instructions provided in the packaging. This rule also applies when storing other medications.

    Any antibiotics should remain stable and retain their potency when stored in dry, cool spaces away from light or heat.

    Avoid leaving your antibiotics in the car. It can be exposed to outside environmental conditions, such as cold and heat, and may reduce its potency. Sometimes such exposures can cause the antibiotics to go bad before the official expiry date.

    Keep antibiotic packaging bottles tightly capped, away from humidity and extreme temperatures.

    It is highly recommended that you do not store antibiotics in bathroom cabinets as it can be affected by heat and humidity.

    Its also important to mention that if antibiotics expire before the expiration date due to improper storage, they may exhibit color changes or may give out an odor.

    Medicines To Watch Out For

    Can I Take Expired Medicine?

    You need to be particularly careful with certain medicines for life-threatening conditions like:

    Eye drops are another special case. They can become contaminated with bacteria. A general rule is to never use eye drops after the expiry date, and to throw them out 28 days after youve opened them, even if it is before the expiry date.

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    Flush Only When Instructed

    In most cases, dont flush medicine down a toilet or sink. You should not do that, unless the medication specifies to be flushed down the toilet , Romaker says. Flushing medicine can contaminate the environment.

    However, a few medicines have specific instructions to immediately flush them when no longer needed and a take-back program is not available near you. These medicines, especially opioids, can be especially harmful even fatal when they are used by someone other than the person they were prescribed for.

    Fda Study Gets To The Heart Of Expired Medicine And Safety

    The big question is, do pills expire? With a splitting headache, you reach into your medicine cabinet for some aspirin or ibuprofen only to find the stamped expiration date on the medicine bottle is more than a year out of date. So, does medicine expire? Do you take it or don’t you? If you decide to take the medication, will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache? And how long is a prescription good for?

    This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Psychopharmacology Today offers some advice.

    It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in 1979, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.

    Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

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    How To Dispose Of Expired/unused Medicine

    When you follow approved ways of ridding your house of expired and no longer needed medicine, you reduce the risk of potentially dangerous drugs getting in the hands of someone who may accidentally take or intentionally misuse or abuse them.

    If a medicine comes with disposal instructions, follow them. Otherwise, follow these guidelines:

    Take-Back Programs

    Medicine take-back, drop-off or collection programs are the preferred method for disposing of expired or no-longer-needed medications. They are offered as one-time events or established collection sites.

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement agencies often provide one-time take-back events.

    Permanent collection sites often can be found at retail pharmacies, health care facilities and law enforcement agencies. Premier Health provides five secure drug collection sites in Southwest Ohio.

    And you can search for secure medicine collection locations near you at:

    Household Trash Disposal

    If no drug take-back programs are available near you, your next best option is disposing of expired or unused medicine in your household trash. If you do this, follow these instructions:

    Because Probiotics Are Alive It’s Best To Use Them As Soon As Possible

    What Should You Do With Expired Drugs?

    Because probiotics are alive, they can become far less effective over time or if they’re improperly stored.

    “Probiotics are living bacteria and will be subject to inactivity over time. It’s best to them discard based on the manufacturer’s guideline, which is usually one year,” Langdon said.

    To keep your probiotics fresh and effective, store them in a cool place away from sunlight. Some probiotics should be kept in the refrigerator.

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    What Are Expiration Dates And Why Are They Important To Pay Attention To

    A medications expiration date is defined as the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication. Expiration dates are assigned to prescription medications, OTC medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products, but with varying amounts of oversight from organizations like the FDA.

    Since 1979, the FDA has regulated the expiration dating of medications to improve medication safety. Manufacturers often set an initial expiration date, which can be updated or extended after long-term testing of the medication has been conducted.

    Despite these efforts for safe medication use, some people believe that taking medications after their expiration date can still be effective or help save them money. While there may be some truth about medications still working after their printed expiration date, the FDA clearly states that consumers should not use expired medications because of potential risks.

    As a general rule, solid medications like tablets are more stable than liquids after their expiration date has passed. But this does not mean that you should take any medications after their expiration date.

    Can You Take Expired Amoxicillin

    In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not amoxicillin expires and how long amoxicillin is stable for.


    I have an old bottle of amoxicillin and wanted to know if it was safe to take and whether or not they expire or go bad.

    Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

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    Can You Tell A Drug Is Expired

    One of the main problems with expired drugs is that it can be difficult to tell if they have lost potency.

    Some drugs, like aspirin, do show noticeable signs when they begin to break down. Expired aspirin, for example, begins to degrade into acetic acid, which has a distinct vinegar smell.

    Most drugs don’t have noticeable signs of degradation however and the fact of the matter is if a drug is past its listed expiration date, you just don’t know it is as potent as it once was.

    What Form Of Antibiotics Will Retain Potency And Efficacy After Expiry

    Does The Expiration Date on Your Medicine Mean You Cant ...

    This retaining of potency for antibiotics is true for most solid forms of antibiotics, such as tablets and capsules.

    Antibiotics in solution or liquid form will lose their potency and efficacy after expiration and should never be used beyond this point. This is because liquid antibiotics are susceptible to bacterial contamination after reconstituting.

    This is suspected to be what happens because of certain nonsterile compounding procedures and the addition of nonsterile water to liquid antibiotics.

    Aside from this, expired liquid or solution antibiotic will change its appearance and odor after expiration fairly quickly because of several compositional changes.

    Therefore, this would make it more obvious that the liquid or solution form of antibiotics has diminished in potency or efficacy and is therefore not safe to be used after expiry.

    Even some solid forms of antibiotics can have a narrow therapeutic index, and so a very minor decrease in pharmacological activity can result in serious consequences for patients.

    One such antibiotic is the monoclonal antibodies. Such medications should not be used beyond the expiry date.

    So, due to varieties in medications and varying results from different controlled experiments, its debatable whether most antibiotics will retain their potency and efficacy after expiration.

    The ability for antibiotics to retain their efficacy after they expire also depends on the conditions they are stored in.

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