Factors to consider in deciding whether to use an expired medication


1. Dosage formulation: Liquids are generally unstable  and are best discarded after expiration. Powders for reconstitution such as amoxicillin do not last beyond 7 days after water is added whether the expiration date is reached or not.Solids,such as capsules and tablets are more stable past their expiration dates.

2. Package-type: A container closure system is likely to retain potency since the original container is opened when needed and drugs are used within a very short time,for example 1 month. They are usually packaged for individual use. On the other hand, medications packaged in bulk to be dispensed to a large number of people inside envelopes may take a longer time to be used up and quickly lose their potency.

3. Storage conditions:  If ideal or optimised keeps medications in a potent state. Medications retain their effectiveness longer if they are kept unopened.

4. Eye drops or ointments: These medications contain preservatives that may degrade to chemicals that are potentially toxic to the eye which is an extremely sensitive body organ. It is therefore safer to avoid if expired.

5. Appearance of medication.Drugs should be discarded if:

  • tablets are brittle or breaking apart;
  • tablets or capsules have loss of sheen;
  • tablets or capsules are soft;
  • emulsions or suspensions remain separate after shaking;
  • injectables appear discoloured or cloudy.
  • Smell is stronger,fishy or foul.
  • If the medication is a biologic product, insulin, refrigerated liquid, eye drop, injectable, or looks like it is degraded or cloudy, it should be discarded and replaced.


See also:

What does your drug expiration date mean?What does your drug expiration date mean?

Recently Expired Drugs- Are They Still Safe to Take?

What are Over-the-Counter Medications?

The danger of taking antiMALARIALs, VITAMIN C and Blood tonics together

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