Monday, 1 October 2007

Are expired drugs safe?

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Are expired drugs perfectly potent, less potent or potentially dangerous? According to the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) administered by the Food and Drug Administration, many drugs can be kept past the expiration date -- if properly stored.
SLEP confirms shelf lives of many drugs exceed expirations. However the drugs were studied under controlled conditions -- pills remained sealed in original vials. Hardly representative of that dusty, already-opened bottle of acetaminophen rolling around your dresser drawer. One expert recommends strict compliance to expiration dates.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics reported in 2002 that many drugs retain 90 percent of potency for at least five years after expiration -- once again, provided they're stored under 'reasonable conditions.' In my household, the expiration date often rules. What is your experience? Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune. Photo by Shutr.

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