Dated and dangerous

| | Updated on: Jan 22, 2016
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Out with the old! Be it the start of a new year or a spring cleaning, consumers are encouraged to take stock of what has passed its usefulness. Medicines are no exception, says the US Food and Drug Administration.

In 1979, the US FDA began requiring an expiration date on prescription and over-the counter medicines. “The medicine expiration date is a critical part of deciding if the product is safe to use and will work as intended,” says Ilisa Bernstein, Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

It is important to know and stick to the expiration date on your medicine. Using expired medical products is risky and possibly harmful to your health.

Besides, they can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength. Certain expired medications are at risk of bacterial growth and sub-potent antibiotics can fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance.

In addition, many may not be aware that medicines that lie around in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the US are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”

Finally, expired medicines are also not just a risk to the person they were prescribed for, and can injure children and pets if taken by mistake. For all these reasons, proper disposal of unneeded medicines is essential!

Source: FDA

Published on January 19, 2018

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