How long are prescription meds good?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert_Z, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    My friend wants to take some medication (ranitidine) that has been in the medicine cabinet since June 2000. In general, what is the shelf life for medication such as this?
     
  2. Gerald LaFrance

    Gerald LaFrance Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2002
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Earth
    Real Name:
    Gerald LaFrance
    Probally not that long But I know for SURE you SHOULDNT keep medicines in the medicine cabinet if its in the bathroom.
     
  3. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    0
    The expiration date should be printed on the label.

    Regardless, this stuff is long since expired. Most prescription drugs expire after 1 year. Get rid of it.

    Gerald: Huh?
     
  4. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    0
    The high humidity of most bathrooms can interfere with the drug's properties, often changing the strength. This, of course, goes for ALL drugs, not just prescription ones.
     
  5. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    While I don't know about ranitidine, I read a study in the Wall Street Journal about a year ago that said that prescription medicines are safe long past their normal one-year expiration date. In fact, I believe the efficacy of many drugs was still 90% after five years. (And rarely, if ever, does a medicine go "bad" -- it just loses its potency.) The main reason for putting an expiration date of one-year is to benefit the drug companies who naturally want you to buy more product. The armed services are currently examining this closely, as there are literally billions of dollars of medicines nearing "expiration" that they would normally throw out that could perhaps safely be extended.

    I'm not suggesting you self-prescribe medicine (or use someone else's), just stating that the one-year expiration date is fairly arbitrary.
     
  6. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,036
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Brian.

    (I'm an RN)

    Jon
     
  7. eric holm

    eric holm Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've had this conversation with a good friend who's a pharmacist.

    His response is that it's required for FDA approval. Since they don't want to have the product in testing for a long period of time, they'll test it for a couple years or so and if it's still fine, just throw that date on the label.

    It's really probably good for much longer. In fact, I have an inhaler that I use very infrequently that officially expired in 1997. My doc told me to keep using it until it's gone or doesn't seem to work.

    Obviously there's exceptions to everything. I know for sure that there are some medicines that do become useless in far less time (I'm using one that has a 3 month life). Also, I'm pretty sure if anything was for something very serious, I'd closely adhere to the exp date.
     
  8. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all that feedback. My friend decided not to take the meds, and all is well.
     
  9. JasonMC

    JasonMC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am a Doctor of Pharmacy and the one year expiration is put in place by the dispensing pharmacy. Most of the time, medications expiration dates are longer than the one year given by the pharmacy. One year expiration dates are placed because prescriptions expire in one year from the time they are written (except for Schedule 3-5 meds which are 6 months).
    An expiration date merely means that 90% of the drug is acting the way it was intended (dissolution, absorption, action, possible side effects). Beyond that, the action of the drug is not studied. The efficacy of the drug will decrease after this time. If it's an emergency type medication, like albuterol inhaler, it is important to not use old one's, they may not work.
    If the original medication is to expire before one year, the pharmacy is required to label the expiration date.
    In this case, if the Zantac doesn't work, no major harm done.
     

Share This Page