Just like other products, medicines also have an expiry date. Viewed by their types, certain types of medicine have a longer period to reach their expiry date compared to other types. Capsules, tablets, pills, and liquid medicine usually last for years.
Meanwhile, creams, ointment, and concoction medicines are often good only for months, weeks, or even days. The dried medicines including the herbal ones also tend to have a longer expiry date than the ‘wet’ ones. After knowing those types, then what is the date’s significance on the medicine? Here are further explanations.
Medicines’ expiry date meaning
Basically, the expiry date shows the time when the medicine will work best. When the expiry date comes, it means that the medicine is not working as effectively as it was before. In some cases, medicine substances might change or get damaged, and this could endanger the human body.
To use it best, some health organizations suggest taking the medicine one month before the expiry date the maximum. For example, when the expiry date is 31st December 2025, the latest time to take the medicine is 30th November 2025. This could prevent any substantial changes and make the medicine takers feel safer in consuming the medicine.
Cited from FDA
a medicine commonly maintains its good condition from twelve to sixty months. Some medicines are still working weeks after the date, but there are also some medicines that are dangerous to consume after the date. Liquid antibiotics, insulin, and nitroglycerin are the example or dangerous medicine to take after the expired date. Their chemical components are changing and might cause other diseases.
Please keep in mind too that it is not only the expiry date which changes the medicine, but the environment and storage also could change it. That is why following storage guidance is crucial. Extreme temperature, humid space, or direct sunlight can decrease the medications’ safety and full potency.
Once the medicine is working properly anymore, changing or having a strange form and smell, people need to dispose of it properly. As there are a million kilos of medicine waste per year, the wrong disposal might pollute the environment.
What to do with the ‘expired’ medicine
- Do not throw out the expired medicine easily. Some people might find it and use it for other purposes. Instead, you can mix it with an unpleasant mixture, so people will not want to take the medicine.
- If the medicine has a label http://220.127.116.11, erase or get rid of it. The label might also contain your personal information.
- If you want to throw it away, use a sealed plastic container to prevent it get mixed with other trash.
- Ask your doctor whether the medicine is safe for the environment. Certain medications and medicines are not good for water and soil. Hence, never flush a medicine in your toilet, or the water might get polluted. Unless you have checked that your medicine is safe for flushing.