That Drug Expiration Date May Be More Myth Than Fact

E-mail One of the most common questions people ask health care providers is, Can I use my old drugs past their expiration dates? In the late s, the FDA first began requiring expiration dates on both prescription and over-the-counter medications. The legal code adopted by the FDA also notes that manufacturers must account for storage conditions and reconstitution conditions for certain drugs in the expiration date. The expiration date of most medicines is 12 to 60 months after manufacture, reports Pharmacy Times. According to Pittsburgh-Post Gazette , pharmacists further shorten the time a medicine can be used when they add their own “discard after” or “beyond-use” date to the prescription label itself. From manufacturer to FDA to pharmacist, the underlying principle is maximum safety.

That Drug Expiration Date May Be More Myth Than Fact

The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless. But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs:

Coded dates might appear on shelf-stable products such as cans and boxes of food.

Fifteen years ago, the U. The testing, conducted by the U. Food and Drug Administration, ultimately covered more than drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, says he has concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Flaherty notes that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set.

The expiration date doesn’t mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement last year. Still, Joel Davis, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, says that with a handful of exceptions — notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics — most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military.

21 CFR 211.137 – Expiration dating.

Why does eye makeup have a shorter shelf life? The shelf life, or expiration date, of a cosmetic or personal care product is the period during which the manufacturer has determined a product to be best suited for use. There are no regulations or requirements under current U. However, manufacturers have the responsibility to determine shelf life for products as part of their responsibility to substantiate product safety.

Expiration dates are required for over-the-counter OTC drugs.

He holds up a purple box of atropine, which gives patients a boost when they have low heart rates.

Find out when it’s time to toss your makeup, perfume, nail polish and more. By Katalina Mitchell Dec 12, You probably don’t think about beauty products going bad like milk, but things like mascara and even nail polish have expiration dates. While using old foundation won’t make you sick, it could cause break-outs or irritation or just not work as well. Find out how long your fave beauty products last—and how to know when it’s time for them to go.

View Gallery 8 Photos 1 of 8 Expiration Dates Unlike say, food, cosmetic companies aren’t required to put expiration dates on beauty products, but a few brands list them anyway, so start by taking a look at the package. Like food labels, some cosmetics have the month, date, and year printed on the package. Others have a symbol of a jar with an open lid, number, and letter. The open lid means the expiration date applies once the product is opened or the seal is removed.

The letter is usually an “M” for month or “Y” for year.

The Big Myth: Food Expiration Dates

Lee Cantrell, an associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, with a collection of vintage expired medications. Sandy Huffaker for ProPublica hide caption toggle caption Sandy Huffaker for ProPublica Lee Cantrell, an associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, with a collection of vintage expired medications. Sandy Huffaker for ProPublica The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the moon landing.

Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless. But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

This expensive process includes costs for planning, proper storage, and also reeplacing expired drugs.

You may want to read this page first for background. There is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States. Although dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states, there are areas of the country where much of the food supply has some type of open date and other areas where almost no food is dated. Food expiration date coding is a nightmare for the consumer to interpret. There is no standard.

Each vendor decides how they want to do it. The FDA only has guidelines on labeling a product and the required information.

expiration

Medically reviewed on Feb 10, by L. Patients often have questions about drug expiration dates: Can they take a medication if it has reached the drug expiration date? Are there recommendations about the best way to store medications?

The drugs are worth tens of billions of dollars and would provide a first line of defense in case of a large-scale emergency.

Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label. The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale. Does Federal Law Require Dating? Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.

For meat, poultry, and egg products under the jurisdiction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service FSIS , dates may be voluntarily applied provided they are labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and in compliance with FSIS regulations 1. To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.

In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed. Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as “Best if Used By. Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality. Factors including the length of time and the temperature at which a food is held during distribution and offered for sale, the characteristics of the food, and the type of packaging will affect how long a product will be of optimum quality.

Manufacturers and retailers will consider these factors when determining the date for which the product will be of best quality. For example, sausage formulated with certain ingredients used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a modified atmosphere packaging system that helps ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible. These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged.

The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes, however, such products should still be safe if handled properly.

Drug Expiration Dates – Are They Still Safe to Take?

Fish is very perishable. It is best to use or freeze fish the day you purchase it. If you purchase fresh fish cello-wrapped from a grocery store, freeze or use it within 2 days of the sell-by date. Fish should not have an overly “fishy” smell. It it has a strong odor don’t eat it. How long does cheese expire after opening?

Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile.

Food and Drug Administration began requiring prescription medication be labeled with expiration dates in Expired drugs account for 25 percent of annual health care costs in the U. Analysis of year-old medication demonstrates that up to 86 percent of the compounds remained potent, suggesting further testing may lead to longer expiration dates The best and most effective way of reducing your health care costs, and the cost to the environment of discarded medication, is to reduce your dependence on drugs through lifestyle changes By Dr.

Mercola In , the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA required drug companies to publish expiration dates on the drugs they produce. Prior to that, after drugs were sold, people used them until they felt it was time to dispose of them. As you’re likely well aware, I’m not a fan of using prescriptions drugs for just about any reason.

What Your Pharmacist Can’t Tell You About Drug Expiration Dates: ‘It’s Complicated’

Food Can Be Sold After Date Expires — Stores are not legally required to remove food from the shelf once the expiration date has passed. The only requirement is that the food is wholesome and fit for consumption. Laws Vary By State — States have varying food dating laws. For example, many states require that milk and other perishables be sold before the expiration date, while others do not.

So you may eat the food after the use by date, but it likely is not going to be at peak quality.

However for OTC drugs without dosage limitations e.

But according to a new report from ProPublica, most of those drugs are safe and effective for years after the expiration date. For decades, the federal government has stockpiled massive stashes of medication, antidotes and vaccines in secure locations throughout the country. The drugs are worth tens of billions of dollars and would provide a first line of defense in case of a large-scale emergency. Each year, drugs from the stockpiles are selected based on their value and pending expiration and analyzed in batches to determine whether their end dates could be safely extended.

For several decades, the program has found that the actual shelf life of many drugs is well beyond the original expiration dates. A study of drugs tested by the program showed that two-thirds of the expired medications were stable every time a lot was tested. Each of them had their expiration dates extended, on average, by more than four years, according to research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. To put the magnitude of that return on investment into everyday terms: I suggest reading ProPublica’s entire report, which provides one stunning example after another of bureaucratic cautiousness fueling rational but egregiously wasteful behavior.

Hospitals don’t dispense perfectly safe but expired drugs because that may expose them to regulatory penalties or lawsuits. Pharmaceutical companies don’t push back against the FDA “because regulations make it expensive and time-consuming for manufacturers to extend expiration date. The simplest explanation is that regulatory structures are like weeds: They don’t uproot themselves.

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

Food banks, other charitable organizations, and consumers should evaluate the quality of the product prior to its distribution and consumption to determine whether there are noticeable changes in wholesomeness Food Donation Safety Tips.

058 – Herbalife Expiration Dates and Food Safety