In a recent study from Harvard University, researchers found that 90% of more than 100 prescribed and over-the-counter drugs were fine to use well after expiry dates.
In fact, some drugs can be safely used even more than 15 years after the expiration dates have passed.
But according to Jill Hall, a pharmacist at the University of Alberta, many manufacturers can only guarantee the potency and safety of drugs until the labeled expiry date.
Scientists do not know what happens, if it is still effective, and if it is potentially toxic when a drug passes its expiry date.
The researcher suggests that some drugs can degrade quite quickly, including nitroglycerin tablets, insulin, and tetracycline. They may become toxic to the kidneys after they expire.
Currently, it is hard to know whether an expired drug is just slightly less effective or has degraded to the point that it potentially becomes dangerous.
People need to be careful when using drugs after their expiry dates. They should talk to their pharmacists when necessary.
If people have old drugs at home and they are not going to use them anymore, it is important to bring them back to the pharmacy to be incinerated.
It can be dangerous to throw away old drugs randomly, no matter it is inhaler, tablet or cream.
This can make the drugs enter landfills and water supply, and exposing people to chemicals they don’t need to be exposed to.
Instead, people should go to a local pharmacy, which may be happy to take back old drugs.
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