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Old 11-30-2014, 09:37 AM
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Is it dangerous to take pseudoephedrine past its exp.date?

I'm stuck at home alone with a stinking cold. I've found some old pseudoephedrine in a drawer with an exp. date of 11/10. Would it do me any harm to take this, or would it simply not work as well as a fresh batch?
Old 11-30-2014, 11:19 AM
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It's four years out of date. I certainly wouldn't! (A couple of months is one thing, but four years? Ummmm...)

It will be interesting to see what the docs/pharmacists on the site say!
Old 11-30-2014, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
{...} Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

So the expiration date doesn't really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use. Medical authorities state expired drugs are safe to take, even those that expired years ago. A rare exception to this may be tetracycline, but the report on this is controversial among researchers. It's true the effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even a decade after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications are as long-lasting as the ones tested by the military. Placing a medication in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years. {...}
CMC fnord!
Old 11-30-2014, 11:47 AM
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Well, it won't transform into nerve gas or dioxine... I'd be happy to use it, even if fifty years expired!

(IANADorPh)
Old 11-30-2014, 12:03 PM
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It may be less potent than expected, but it doesn't morph into poison on some particular date. I would take it, but head to the drug store tomorrow to get something more current.

Last edited by dolphinboy; 11-30-2014 at 12:03 PM.
Old 11-30-2014, 01:33 PM
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Interesting thread. I knew mine was outdated, and just got up to check: expir. 08/10. I just took some yesterday. It worked just fine, and I'm still allri
Old 11-30-2014, 02:36 PM
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Probably not dangerous. Few drugs degrade into dangerous compounds over time. We're not even certain that tetracycline, the most famous example of a drug that supposedly becomes toxic with age, really does so. Most likely, the drugs slowly become less effective.

The Master speaks on this topic here: https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...drugs-kill-you
Old 11-30-2014, 04:27 PM
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I read where expired, or close to expired medicines like aspirin, or vitamins, are sent to poor countries. They aren't poisonous and still are effective.
Old 11-30-2014, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
I read where expired, or close to expired medicines like aspirin, or vitamins, are sent to poor countries. They aren't poisonous and still are effective.
How would this work? Are there organizations that take expired meds to give to the poor? It seems like the liability problems would be huge, even in parts of the world that aren't sue-happy. For instance, how would you ensure that the drugs in an opened container matched the label?
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Probably not dangerous. Few drugs degrade into dangerous compounds over time. We're not even certain that tetracycline, the most famous example of a drug that supposedly becomes toxic with age, really does so. Most likely, the drugs slowly become less effective.

The Master speaks on this topic here: https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...drugs-kill-you
Agreed. If it's been stored properly (i.e. not in the kitchen or bathroom ) it should be OK.
Old 12-01-2014, 02:08 AM
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I'm imagining a chest-burster busting out of OP's torso after having taken old medicine
Old 12-01-2014, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
How would this work? Are there organizations that take expired meds to give to the poor? It seems like the liability problems would be huge, even in parts of the world that aren't sue-happy. For instance, how would you ensure that the drugs in an opened container matched the label?
I would assume they mean unopened "expired" stock from drug store shelves. Collected opened containers for export or other use would indeed be a bad idea all around...

Last edited by runningdude; 12-01-2014 at 10:10 AM.
Old 12-01-2014, 01:57 PM
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Well I took it and I'm still alive. Having said that, it didn't seem to do much good. I'll pop the pharmacy tomorrow to get some new, see if that works.
Old 12-01-2014, 04:03 PM
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I wouldn't take that stuff if it was in date. Just saying.
Old 12-01-2014, 05:22 PM
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I'd take it.

Drug companies are required to test that their stuff is still safe and potent for as long aas they claim it is good. That's expensive for them, and it means you are less likely to go out and buy new drugs, so they have no incentive to test or label for much shelf life.

No doubt some drugs break down over time. Aspirin does so rather obviously (and develops a charcteristic vinegar smell.) A few drugs are believed to turn toxic. Most drugs are pretty stable. Stashes of opium that were buried with mummies were supposed to have stiff been effective. Maybe that's just a story, but I have some opiate drugs that are decades old and work fine, I just need to take less, because some of the alcohol evaporated off and the drugs are more potent per teaspoon. (You can pry my childhood bottle of paragoric syrup out of my cold dead hands. I almost never use it, but every couple of years I get a stomach bug and BOY does it do the trick.)
Old 12-01-2014, 06:58 PM
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Stashes of opium that were buried with mummies were supposed to have stiff been effective
The same goes for popcorn! And Honey!
And lotus seeds retain the ability to germinate for thousands of years. Think about that, that's effectively life spontaneously arranging itself (for surely after thousands of years all metabolic action has ceased).
Old 12-01-2014, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds View Post
CMC fnord!
And this leads me to suspect that the real reason for many expiration date issues is the bloodsucking lawyers who say that zomg you could be sued!!11!!11one if you give someone an expired drug and they are somehow harmed, but if the drug was not expired, the fault would fall on the drug manufacturer, not you. So it's not about protecting sick people, it's about CMA. Great world.
Old 12-02-2014, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by runningdude View Post
I would assume they mean unopened "expired" stock from drug store shelves. Collected opened containers for export or other use would indeed be a bad idea all around...
During the early days of the AIDS crisis, there were many organizations collecting unused AIDS medications (mostly from patients who had died) and providing them to other sick people, either here in the US or in other countries.

Possibly risking something from lawsuit-happy lawyers, but with a life expectancy measured in months, that wasn't very compelling.
Old 12-04-2014, 11:46 AM
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My doctor tells me that drug companies are required to post dates, but they really have no idea how long their drugs actually last, so they pick something safe, that they can easily test, and of course, the shorter the date the more they sell (up to a practical limit).

Meanwhile, they try very hard to avoid selling drugs that have dangerous decomposition products, for the obvious reasons.
Old 12-04-2014, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
During the early days of the AIDS crisis, there were many organizations collecting unused AIDS medications (mostly from patients who had died) and providing them to other sick people, either here in the US or in other countries.

Possibly risking something from lawsuit-happy lawyers, but with a life expectancy measured in months, that wasn't very compelling.
I suppose that would have been a worthy exception; those drugs were insanely expensive back then, and the disease is so insanely awful. Especially if they were individually wrapped, I cannot image many potential issues worse than the disease itself.
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