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How long are prescription meds REALLY good for?
#1
When advice rolls around for preparing for a hurricane or snow storm you always hear advice to make sure you have a sufficient supply of necessary medications. How long can you leave stuff in a bug out bag and still expect it to be as effective as it should be?
What makes me ask is this:
In March of 2013 my dentist told me that I have a wisdom tooth that needs to come out. I didn't want it done that day so he wrote a prescription for Amoxicillin, told me to get it filled and start taking it when that tooth starts to bother me, then make an appointment to have it extracted. (He seemed convinced that it was going to abscess).
There's a note on the label that says "Discard after 03/26/2014". I found that bottle the other day and wondered if it's still good or if there's a magic spell that renders it useless or poisonous the day after the date printed. (The tooth hasn't given me any problem yet).
There must be a certain time allowance for it sitting on a shelf at the pharmacy, what if I got it the day that lot was delivered, or what if I got it just before the pharmacy "sell by" date. I've noticed on other prescriptions that the discard date is exactly one year from the date the prescription was filled.
If you're preparing for "the big one" and happen to have a round of antibiotic that was "extra", it could be desirable in the event of not having access to doctors or pharmacies. How long can you realistically keep something like that? Same question for aspirin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, vitamins or anything else. I know they're required to put a "discard date" on medicines, just like anything else, but I'm sure they build in enough leeway to keep themselves out of harm's way from a legal standpoint.
I've heard that aspirin and Ibuprofen will still be good for several years regardless of what the label might say.
Is there conventional wisdom that says the date on the bottle is absolute or otherwise?
I'm just getting over a sinus infection and thought about taking the "expired", (by about 4 months),antibiotic and replacing it with the prescription that I got Friday, just so I'd have something "fresh" on hand for another year, but decided to play it safe and discard the old, use the new and have nothing in reserve.
I know we have at least one doctor here and several others who seem to be well informed about many things. I'd venture a guess that we actually have a few doctors and a few pharmacists here. I want to ask my doctor about it when I go back for my followup visit but I'm sure he'll tell me that the date is there for a reason and I should always respect it as gospel, but that might be just to cover his ass and not be the entire truth.
I expect that any doctor or pharmacist here would hesitate, if not outright refuse to give advice that would conflict with what's printed on the bottles but I figured I'd give it a shot anyhow.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#2
Here's what I found a while back when I was trying to figure out if my Motrin would help or if I needed to take more despite being a year or three old:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/update...103a.shtml

I found a few other reputable links too, but must not have saved them. From what I gathered though, they may lose potency over time and may not work as well, but that is not an excuse to take more than what is recommended due to the risk of overdosing or causing organ damage--whatever the risks of too much are.
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#3
You could always get Fish-Mox, it's the same as Amoxicillin and you don't need a prescription.
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#4
Shelf life varies according to he drug and the conditions of storage.
Some things will last for many years after the "use by" date, others break down quickly. But the date on the bottle is always a highly conservative date. It is probably half the time that stability studies showed significant decomposition. Even then, there is probably enough active drug to be effective.
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#5
I'll bet that prescription was filled on 3/26/2013. Pharmacists must label any prescription to be discarded after one year. They also return all prescription meds on their shelves for a refund if they are due to expire on the expiration date listed or have been open (to dispense partially) for almost a year. Doing the returns each month used to be one of my jobs. This is to prevent dispensing ineffective medications. Very few medications go bad (refrigerated ones are one exception), but most lose potency. How much potency depends on where you store it and under what conditions.

Is yours still good? Maybe. Shrug

mauser;152624 Wrote:When advice rolls around for preparing for a hurricane or snow storm you always hear advice to make sure you have a sufficient supply of necessary medications. How long can you leave stuff in a bug out bag and still expect it to be as effective as it should be?
What makes me ask is this:
In March of 2013 my dentist told me that I have a wisdom tooth that needs to come out. I didn't want it done that day so he wrote a prescription for Amoxicillin, told me to get it filled and start taking it when that tooth starts to bother me, then make an appointment to have it extracted. (He seemed convinced that it was going to abscess).
There's a note on the label that says "Discard after 03/26/2014". I found that bottle the other day and wondered if it's still good or if there's a magic spell that renders it useless or poisonous the day after the date printed. (The tooth hasn't given me any problem yet).
There must be a certain time allowance for it sitting on a shelf at the pharmacy, what if I got it the day that lot was delivered, or what if I got it just before the pharmacy "sell by" date. I've noticed on other prescriptions that the discard date is exactly one year from the date the prescription was filled.
If you're preparing for "the big one" and happen to have a round of antibiotic that was "extra", it could be desirable in the event of not having access to doctors or pharmacies. How long can you realistically keep something like that? Same question for aspirin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, vitamins or anything else. I know they're required to put a "discard date" on medicines, just like anything else, but I'm sure they build in enough leeway to keep themselves out of harm's way from a legal standpoint.
I've heard that aspirin and Ibuprofen will still be good for several years regardless of what the label might say.
Is there conventional wisdom that says the date on the bottle is absolute or otherwise?
I'm just getting over a sinus infection and thought about taking the "expired", (by about 4 months),antibiotic and replacing it with the prescription that I got Friday, just so I'd have something "fresh" on hand for another year, but decided to play it safe and discard the old, use the new and have nothing in reserve.
I know we have at least one doctor here and several others who seem to be well informed about many things. I'd venture a guess that we actually have a few doctors and a few pharmacists here. I want to ask my doctor about it when I go back for my followup visit but I'm sure he'll tell me that the date is there for a reason and I should always respect it as gospel, but that might be just to cover his ass and not be the entire truth.
I expect that any doctor or pharmacist here would hesitate, if not outright refuse to give advice that would conflict with what's printed on the bottles but I figured I'd give it a shot anyhow.
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#6
Be careful because a few increase potency/toxicity once they are out of date.
Error 396: Signature cannot be found.
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#7
mingomom;152642 Wrote:I'll bet that prescription was filled on 3/26/2013. Pharmacists must label any prescription to be discarded after one year. They also return all prescription meds on their shelves for a refund if they are due to expire on the expiration date listed or have been open (to dispense partially) for almost a year. Doing the returns each month used to be one of my jobs. This is to prevent dispensing ineffective medications. Very few medications go bad (refrigerated ones are one exception), but most lose potency. How much potency depends on where you store it and under what conditions.

Is yours still good? Maybe. Shrug

Correct, the fill date was 3/26/2013, it seems like it's always exactly one year, for any prescription. That's what made me think that it was a time frame applied indiscriminately.It stands to reason that some things will last longer than others and I figured one year was a very conservative time frame to protect everyone with plenty of leeway for even those with the shortest shelf life. If the pharmacies return their stock after one year, and they dispense some just before they return it, it will get the same one year time frame as a brand new, fresh batch.
By that reasoning, "fresh" meds should be good for a minimum of two years, but you never know if you're getting a refill from a fresh batch or one that's about to be returned, either way I'm sure there is leeway so I don't mind using something that's a little bit past it's expiration date.
I am aware that some will lose potency while others may gain potency.
It would be nice if there was a notation that warns of potential increase or decrease in potency and a warning on any that might become dangerously altered by age.
Dosage is another thing that seems to be misleading. I know some things like Acetaminophen can be deadly if too much is taken and they would like us to believe that the same is true for anything.
Here's an example:
Tussin DM, Adult strength relief for cough and chest congestion, Dosage as indicated on the label; Adults and children 12 years and over - 2 teaspoons every 4 hours. Do not take more than 6 doses in any 24 hour period.
Active ingredients (In each 5 ml tsp):
Dextromethorphan HBr, USP 10mg (Cough suppressant).
Guaifenesin, USP 100 mg. (Expectorant).
In a 2 tsp dose you get 20 mg of Dextromethorphan and 200 mg of Guaifenesin. The maximum 24 hour dose, by the label instructions is 60 mg of Dextromethorphan and 600 mg of Guaifenesin.
Now look at a package of Musinex DM.
Active ingredients per tablet:
Dextromethorphan HBr, USP 30mg.
Guaifenesin, USP 600 mg.
Dosage:
Adults and children 12 years and over, one or two tablets every 12 hours.
At two tablets every 12 hours that's 120mg of Dextromethorphan and 2400 mg of Guaifenesin in 24 hours.
By comparison, that's double the maximum dose of Dextromethorphan and four times the maximum dose of Guaifenesin in a 24 hour period. By the information on the label of the Tussin DM you'd think that more than 60mg and 600 mg would be a dangerous dose in 24 hours, but by the dosage instructions on the Mucinex DM you'd wonder how the Tussin DM could do any good with such a small dose.
I personally wouldn't take more than the recommended dose of anything but after reading both labels it would seem that you should easily tolerate double dosage of the Tussin DM.
I have allergy problems and I take the Tussin DM because it has only the ingredients aimed at relieving my symptoms, no pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants or other stuff that I don't need. This time around the Tussin DM wasn't doing me any good so I went to my doctor and he prescribed an antibiotic and Mucinex, but only one tablet at a time, not two. The pharmacist told me that my doctor instructed me to take a half dose and if I want relief I should take the full dose of two tablets at a time, as indicated on the label.
First of all, I trust my doctor more than a pharmacist who knows nothing of my history, and beyond that I don't like to take any medication, but sometimes it's necessary, and this time it is necessary.
If the Mucinex is doing any good I'd hate to find out how bad I'd be without it, I'm still coughing and hacking like I have Tuberculosis or something.
I would have never dared to take the amount of those ingredients as administered in the Mucinex but apparently this is a comfortably safe level, (and that's an over the counter medication, no prescription needed, even though my doctor did write me a prescription so I could pay for it from my HSA and get the tax advantage).
I realize the drug companies have to cover their asses and be conservative with their dosing recommendations but it would be nice to know what the boundaries are. (And 12 years old doesn't sound like a good guideline to me, there are 12 year olds who barely weigh 60 pounds and there are others who weigh more than most healthy adults. It seems like weight based dosage would be more appropriate with minimum age guidelines giving consideration to developmental stages of organs).
Acetaminophen should have a bold warning about maximum dosage and what it can do to your liver, that shit is poisonous and some people take it for any ache or pain, even if they drink alcohol. I cut way down on drinking about 10 years ago and quit completely 2 years ago and I usually avoid Acetaminophen like the plague. As far as I'm concerned there is NO safe dosage, it affects different people in different ways and small amounts can be very dangerous to some people.
That being said, I have some Tylenol 3 that was prescribed to me 2 years ago, I filled the prescription and didn't take any. I might take one of them to see if the codeine will quiet my cough enough to let me get some sleep tonight.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#8
Acetaminophen is not that toxic to Humans. The reason they give warnings about it is that it is in practically everything and they don't want you taking three different medications (like a sleep aid, cough suppressant, antihistamine), that all have Tylenol in them on top of straight Tylenol where you could be getting 3 or 4 grams at a time. You are right to worry about alcohol and acetaminophen and it will cause liver damage if overdosed.
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