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Are expired drugs really expired and what happens when expired drugs are taken?

There is no reason to be so confused about expired drugs, there is no reason to panic. This is because most drugs, except for some sensitive drugs like nitroglycerin, insulin, liquid antibiotics, have long-lasting efficacy and safety. 

What is meant by expire date of the Drug? 

How is the expiration date of a drug determined or how much of it is based on honesty and scientific information? And do drugs actually loss their effectiveness and safety after the expiration date? 


Suppose you are suffering from a severe headache.

When you look in the drawer, you find paracetamol, which has expired a year ago. What will you do now? Do you take this medicine or not?

Taking will be a wrong decision and will cause side effects; Will you get sick, will you die or will your headache go away? Such questions arise in the minds of almost all people and as a result various kinds of doubts arise in the minds of people, creating confusion.

A report from Harvard Medical School provides some excellent information on expired drugs. According to a 1979 law, pharmaceutical companies, after numerous tests, issue a seal stating the expiration date on the drug, through which it is said or confirmed that if the drug is taken within this period, the effectiveness and safety of the drug will be 100% guaranteed. Percentage of efficiency and security may not be available.

Let me tell you a wonderful story about the expiration date. The FDA conducted the study at the request of the US military. The military has to stockpile huge amounts of very expensive drugs every year and destroy millions of dollars worth of drugs over time.

The purpose of this study was to see if this huge amount of money can be saved. The study found that more than 100 OTC (over-the-counter) and 90 percent of prescription drugs were found to be effective and safe 15 years after the expiration date.

Similar results are found in several other studies. In 1986, in order to save huge sums of money, the Air Force asked the FDA to examine whether the expiration date of standard drugs could be extended; As a result, the FDA and the Department of Defense launched the Shelf Life Extension Program. I would like to write about the results of the research done under this program later.

Marshall Allen wrote an analytical essay entitled 'The Myth of Drug Expiration' on July 16, 2016 in ProPublica. This is how he begins the article: Hospitals and pharmacies have to destroy expired drugs every year, despite the fact that the FDA has known over the years that most drugs are just right in terms of efficacy and safety; It does not matter how important or expensive these drugs are.

Let me tell you another incredible story. A box of 14 prescription drugs was forgotten in a black cupboard in 1989. Among them were antihistamines, painkillers, stimulants. The drug was discovered about 30 years after its expiration date.

The drugs were thought to be spoiled or poisoned. But researchers Lee Cantrell and Roy Gerna tested the drug, which expired 30 years ago, and found that its active ingredients were perfectly fine and its effectiveness was not lost. The medicines were in original or sealed containers. They were shocked by the test results.

When kept in a cool place such as refrigerator and in a directed environment, the efficacy of the drug remains intact for many years after the expiration date. Does this mean that what we mean by "expiration date" does not reflect the true nature of the drug?

There is some misunderstanding somewhere, and can we assume that some drugs have nothing to fear in terms of efficacy or safety after the expiration date?

However, it is not uncommon for someone to have doubts about the cure of some complex diseases, including infectious diseases, if they do not work, if they are taken after the expiration date. Therefore, it is better not to take antibiotics after the expiration date.


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