Drug Expiration Dates — Do They Mean Anything?
So…you have a splitting headache and you reach into the medicine cabinet for some aspirin, only to find the stamped expiration date on the bottle has passed — two years ago. So, do you decide to take it or don’t you? If you decide to take the aspirin will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache? This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Pyschopharmacology 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!
So the expiration date doesn’t really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use. Medical authorities state expired drugs are safe to take, even those that expired years ago. Yes, there are certain drugs that should not be used under any circumstance if they are past the exp date, I would venture to say anything that is critical to saving you life would fall under this criteria, but for 95% of the drugs and supplements you use, they are just fine.
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 dry place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years.
Is the expiration date a marketing ploy by drug manufacturers, to keep you restocking your medicine cabinet and their pockets regularly? You can look at it that way, or you can also look at it this way: The expiration dates are very conservative to ensure you get everything you paid for. Although I don’t doubt most drug companies enjoy having a shorter exp date as it requires many govt institutions, hospitals and clinics to restock their supply or face lawsuits for selling/administering drugs past their exp date.
So the bottom line in this is to ensure your products are stored in a cool dry place and you will be sure to have effectiveness for as long as you have your drugs on hand. Keep in a cool dark place and it will surpass the exp. date by many many years.
I want to amend this article and state something on HGH. Being a peptide that is unstable in room temp conditions it will not stay stable/effective nearly as long as an inject oil or a tablet. I don’t want anyone to think we are saying that HGH will be good for several years after the exp if it’s kept in a cool dry place. I would highly recommend keeping your HGH in the fridge on the shelf (not the door where it is swinging open and getting disturbed regularly), so please let me state that clearly. I would strongly advise anyone to administer their HGH within the suggested exp date on their HGH, and to keep it in the fridge to make sure they are getting full potency out of it.