Expired Medications: How long is too long?

We all have that one cabinet or drawer filled with old medications we save for a rainy day. The question most of us ask when that rainy day comes around again is “Is it safe to take that medication again?”

In a recent article with Popular Science, Thomas Jefferson University professor of pharmacology, Dr. Gina Bellottie, said that people should not take any expired medications, even though in some cases, it may be perfectly safe.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires companies to mark every over-the-counter drug with expiration dates. Bellottie said, “Beyond that date, the drug company doesn’t guarantee it.” In order to know for sure, she said, the medication would have to undergo rigorous testing. Factors such as how long the packaging has been opened and where it’s stored influence the results.

Dr. Bellottie advised that whenever there is any doubt, take the medication to a local pharmacy to learn what is or is not safe to take as well as what side effects could exist.

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