Everyone has questions from time to time about their medications. Your pharmacist is a great resource to help answer these types of questions! Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team. They have extensive education about medications, how they interact with one another, and how they can support your health. Here, we provide some answers to common medication-related questions featuring one of ExactCare’s own clinical pharmacists, Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS.
Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS
This is a very common question! A lot of people wonder if it is OK to take expired medication. First, let’s talk about what the expiration date on your medication means.
The expiration date is the last day the drug manufacturer can guarantee the full potency and safety of a medication. In other words, it is the last day they can be sure the medication will do what it is supposed to do.
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications have expiration dates. You can find the expiration date on the packaging. It might be on the prescription label, the bottle, the box or another part of the package.
Now, let’s talk about the potency of expired medication.
Medication is made to help you in a certain way. It does this by delivering a specific dose in a specific way to your body. Potency is the amount of a drug needed for it to do what it is supposed to do. Expired medication might not have its full potency. This means it might not work as well as it should for you.
Keep in mind that this can be a safety risk. If a medication does not work as it should, it means you are not getting the proper dose to manage your condition. This can make your health worse. And in some cases, it can put your life in danger.
It’s possible that some expired medication can change over time. How? Its chemical makeup can change. This can also be a safety risk or change the way they work.
Properly storing your medications can help protect them from changing. You should store your medications away from heat, light and humidity. For this reason, the bathroom is not a good place to keep your medications. Storing your medications properly helps keep them working as they should prior to the expiration date.
If you get confused, your pharmacist can help! It’s always best to talk to them if you have questions about your medication.
Also, be sure to properly dispose of expired medication. Don’t keep it around! Disposing of it helps prevent health risks to you and your loved ones!
Information featured on the ExactCare website, including the Ask a Pharmacist page, should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding your personal health situation. If ExactCare is your pharmacy, call us directly to talk to your pharmacist: 1-877-355-7225
ExactCare, a CarepathRx Company, is a national medication management and pharmacy provider that helps people with complex medical needs overcome medication-related and chronic care challenges.
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