Expired Medication - Okay or Not?
When is the last time you went through your medicine cabinet and tossed old bottles? If yours is like millions of others, you probably have a prescription or an over-the-counter medicine or two that have reached their expiration date. Medicine is expensive, and you aren't alone if you're considering using expired medication instead of tossing it out. Before you do, you should know whether it is safe.
Is Taking Expired Medicine Safe?
It is hard to say whether taking medicine that is past its expiration date is safe or not. There haven't been any significant studies on the health effects of taking old medicine, but there also haven't been any reports of serious illness or death related to taking expired prescriptions. Experts believe that most pills or tablets are not dangerous when taking past their prime as long as they were kept in a cool, dry place. Liquid medications aren't known to cause any serious illness when taken past their prime, but because they have meticulous storage instructions, it's best to err on the side of caution. When stored improperly, liquid medication can grow bacteria or fungus and may cause infection.
Will the Medication Still Be Effective?
When it comes to over-the-counter medication, there is no reason not to ingest it, although you should note that it has likely lost at least some of its potency. The older the medication is, the less likely it is to provide relief. Prescription medications have their own rules. Outdated antibiotics won't help an infection, and if you use one not meant for the infection you have, you may even cause yourself to become resistant to the medication.
It is extremely important to take prescription medications before they expire. For example, taking outdated prescription birth control can cause hormone variations that allow for ovulation. Expired insulin could mean you end up in the emergency room because you don't have enough of it in your body. Generally, if your prescription is for asthma, heart failure or another life-threatening condition, it's not a good idea to gamble with the date on the bottle.
Medication is expensive and running out of it is a very real concern for millions of people. You do have options, though. Companies such as Sackett and Associates Insurance Services can assist you in finding the right health insurance so that getting your medication is easier and more affordable. For more information, follow our blog, like us on Facebook or check out our LinkedIn page.