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Can You Take Expired Allergy Medicine

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Disposing Of Expired Pills

  • The first is to check the label of the medication to determine if there are any specific instructions for disposal.
  • If there arent specific instructions, there are many government-operated drug take-back programs that are publicly available.
  • If you cant find one of these programs in your area, you can throw medicine in the trash, but try to mix it with something like coffee grounds before throwing it away.
  • Also, before you do dispose of expired pills, check to make sure that the FDA doesnt classify them as drugs that should be flushed rather than thrown out.

How Does This Medication Work What Will It Do For Me

Cetirizine belongs to the class of medications called second-generation antihistamines, specifically the class known as histamine receptor antagonists. For adults and children 2 years of age and older, it is used for the relief of symptoms associated with seasonal allergies including sneezing; itchy nose and throat; stuffy and runny nose; and tearing, red, or itchy eyes. It is also used for the relief of symptoms associated with allergic skin conditions such as itchy skin and hives. For adults and children over the age of 12 years, it is also used for the relief of symptoms associated with year-round allergies and hives.

Cetirizine works by blocking the actions of one of the body’s natural chemicals known as histamine. Histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms caused by allergies.

Cetirizine usually starts to relieve allergy symptoms within 20 minutes and lasts for 24 hours.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

Is It Safe To Take Expired Medications

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends never taking drugs beyond their expiration date as it is risky with many unknown variables. For example, how your drug is stored before you receive it, chemical make-up, and original manufacturing date can all affect potency of a drug.

In 1963, a report was published that tied degraded use with a form of renal tubular damage known as “Fanconi Syndrome”; however, that formulation of tetracycline in no longer marketed in the U.S.1, 11, and many medical experts question the results of this case report.

Solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules, appear to be most stable past their expiration date. Drugs that exist in solution or as a reconstituted suspension, and that require refrigeration , may not have the required potency if used when outdated. Loss of potency can be a major health concern, especially when treating an infection with an antibiotic. Additionally, antibiotic resistance may occur with sub-potent medications.

Drugs that exist in solution, especially injectable drugs, should be discarded if the product forms a precipitant or looks cloudy or discolored.1

Liquid drugs such as eye or ear solutions, oral liquids, or topical solutions may undergo evaporation of solvents over time.11

Expired medications that contain preservatives, such as ophthalmic drops, may be unsafe past their expiration date.1 Outdated preservatives may allow bacterial growth in the solution.

What Will Happen If I Took An Expired Store Brand Allergy Pill

Is It Safe to Take Expired Drugs?

Dr. Sean McGheeRead MoreDr. Jack MutnickRead More

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Q: How Bad Is It To Take Medicine That’s Past Its Expiration Date

It’s really not a good idea to take expired medication at all.

The company that manufactures a particular drug works with the regulatory authority to confirm and guarantee that the medicine will still be active in the amount on the label up to expiration time. After that, there’s no guarantee that it wont decay or become ineffective.

This Is Your Body On Seasonal Allergies: A Look at What Happens When Pollen Invades

Less potent cold medicine is obviously not ideal, but this becomes much more dangerous when youre talking about prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, insulin, epinephrine auto-injectors or cardiac medications. These drugs have what we call a narrow therapeutic window, which means you need the exact amount of medicine, in the prescribed dosageand the effect of not receiving that exact dosage could be life-threatening.

For example, a number of years ago, an antibiotic caused kidney damage when it was taken after the expiration date because it had decayed into a different chemical composition. That medication has since been changed, but that type of risk may still exist with others.

Manufacturers test their medicines over a range of consistent temperature and humidity levels. The expiry date reflects those conditions, which is why its important to store your medication according to the instructions provided on the bottle or by your pharmacist.

Dr. Aran Maree, Chief Medical Officer, Janssen PharmaceuticalsShare

What Is The Proper Way To Dispose Of Unused Or Expired Zyrtec Products

Do NOT dispose of any ZYRTEC® product by emptying it into your sink, toilet or storm drain. Check to see if your pharmacy or community has a take-back program in which you can drop off your expired or unused medicine for them to dispose for you. Otherwise, place your medicine in an unmarked, sealed container and dispose of the container in your household trash. Visit the FDA website for more information.

Is It Dangerous To Take Expired Medicine

When you have a splitting headache but realize the ibuprofen expired a year ago…

You have a throbbing headache and open up the bathroom vanity to grab some acetaminophen or naproxen, only to realize those over-the-counter pain meds expired more than a year ago. Do you still take them? Run out to the store? Sit there and suffer? Consider this:

Still Expired Otc Meds May Help With Pain

Despite the risks, studies show that many meds, when carefully stored, remain potent well beyond their expiration date.

Let’s back up and look at how expiration dates for over-the-counter medications are determined. “In order for a drug to be approved by the FDA, the manufacturer has to show that it will remain stable for up to three years,” says pharmacist Lee Cantrell, professor of clinical pharmacy and director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System. “Because of that, most medicine has an expiration date that’s a maximum of three years out.”

Basically, a drug is guaranteed to retain its efficacy up until the expiration date.

“But that doesn’t mean it goes bad after that,” Cantrell says. “Since manufacturers only have to prove the product is effective for two or three years, there is no financial incentive for them to extend the expiration dates, even if the medicine remains potent for a longer period of time.”

Case in point: Researchers examined 122 over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals and found that, when stored properly in unopened containers, the meds remained stable for an average of 5.5 years past their expiration date and some were still good after 20 years, per a July 2006 study in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science. For example, this research found that acetaminophen can be extended at least 24 months after the “best by” date.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your OTC Medications

Who Can And Cannot Take Acrivastine

Acrivastine capsules that you buy from pharmacies and supermarkets can be taken by adults under the age of 65, and children aged 12 years and over.

Acrivastine isn’t recommended for people over 65 years old because very little research on the medicine has been done in this age group.

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you’re over 65 and want to take acrivastine.

Acrivastine isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to acrivastine or any other medicines in the past
  • have an intolerance to or cannot absorb some sugars, such as lactose or sorbitol
  • have kidney disease
  • have or another health problem that puts you at risk of seizures
  • have a rare illness called porphyria
  • are booked to have an allergy test – taking acrivastine may affect the results, so you might need to stop taking it a few days before the test

What Can You Take

While medical professionals recommend that you only take medications that are unexpired, you can still safely take the following kind of medicines after their expiration date if you don’t need them to be at full potency in order to make you feel better: pain relievers such as , ibuprofen, and acetaminophen in tablet form; antihistamines, , and sinus tablets; and cold medicines like Mucinex, Sudafed, Theraflu, in tablet or powder form.

If the medication comes in a dry form, like tablet or powder, and has been stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, then the medication may still retain its potency and effectiveness years later. In addition to storing medicines properly, you should consider the look and smell of the medicines before taking them. But medications that come in liquid forms or that contain perishable ingredients or need to be refrigerated should be used within the time frame prescribed by your doctor and by the expiration dates on the bottle. Antibiotics also need to be taken when prescribed. “These are medications that you would never want to worry whether they are effective or not when you need them,” Sierant says. “The expiration dates should be heeded for these medicines.”

There May Actually Be Some Benefits To Taking Older Otc Meds

Aside from the fact that you won’t be exposing yourself to potential COVID-19 pathogens by making an extra trip to the store, you’ll save money. Considering that a bottle of ibuprofen will run you $7.79 on average, is $4.27, cough suppressant is $8.06 and are $30.87, tossing unused portions can add up.


One important exception: Always discard out-of-date aspirin, which degrades relatively quickly. Aspirin pills break down into vinegar and salicylic acid irritates the stomach,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

“Americans could save billions of dollars if they used the same bottle of Advil, Tylenol or Benadryl for 10 to 15 years,” Cantrell says. “This is just my take on it, but in that case, drug manufacturers would probably stop making these meds .”

In addition, using expired OTC medication can have a positive environmental effect. Evidence of pharmaceutical contamination was found in water and sediment samples from Lake Michigan at concentrations of medium or high ecological risk, per a November 2013 study in .

“If longer shelf lives could reduce medication disposal, perhaps such a measure could also abate harmful environmental consequences,” according to a November 2015 Mayo Clinic commentary.

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Do not take Ondansetron SZ ODT orally disintegrating tablets after the expiry date printed on the pack. If you take it after the expiry date has passed, it may not work as well. Do not take Ondansetron SZ ODT orally disintegrating tablets if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.

Additionally, how long after the expiration date is medication good for? Excluding certain prescription medicines such as nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medicines stored under reasonable conditions retain at least 70% to 80% of their original potency for at least 1 to 2 years after the expiration date, even after the container has been opened.

Likewise, can I take expired nausea medicine?

According to Dr. Rohr, there’s actually little scientific evidence that expired medications can be toxic or make you sick the way rotten food can. The drug is likely to lose some potency after the expiration date, but it is not clear how much potency is lost over a certain period of time past expiration dates.

What medications become toxic after expiration?

Practically speaking, Hall said there is a handful of drugs known to degrade quite quickly, such as nitroglycerin tablets, insulin and tetracycline, an antibiotic that may become toxic to the kidneys after it expires.

Heed Expiration Dates On Lifesaving Drugs

The FDA requires manufacturers to determine how long it takes a drug to reach a potency level of 95%; when it’s reached that level, it’s “expired.” The point: Expiration dates are about efficacy, not safety. “How important is it that you need to get the right amount into your body?” says Michael J. Negrete, PharmD, CEO of the Pharmacy Foundation of California. “I might be willing to roll the dice with cough syrup. It’s no big deal if the potency is down and it doesn’t help my cough. But imagine an EpiPen, which keeps people from going into anaphylactic shock, not working.”

The Screen Said My Coupons Were Printingbut They Never Did

Check to verify that your printer is connected and turned on.If you were trying to print several coupons, the file size may be exceeding the amount of memory you have available. Try printing a single coupon. If that works, you may not be able to print out all that you want in a single session.If you share a computer with other people, make sure they did not print the coupon already. Since SmartSource coupons can only be printed up to 2 times on the same computer, you may have exceeded the number of print times.

Use Valium Within One Year

Because diazepam, which is sold under names including Valium, is a prescription drug, there are additional guidelines for its expiration date.

“As a prescription drug, pharmacies limit the use for one year from dispensing,” Langdon said.

As with most medications, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct light.

What Is An Expiry Date

An expiry date is the date up until which the drug manufacturer can guarantee that the medicine is fully potent and safe to take based on product testing. Expiration dates are typically conservative to make sure you get what you paid fora fully potent and safe medicine.

Generally, solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules, appear to be most stable past their expiration date. Drugs that exist in solution or as a reconstituted suspension, and that require refrigeration , may not have the required potency if used when outdated. Loss of potency can be a major concern, especially if treating an infection with an antibiotic, and a substandard antibiotic increases the chance of antibiotic resistance developing.

Storing medicines properly increases the chance of them having an extended shelf life. The bathroom and medicine cabinet are not ideal places to store medications due to heat and humidity. Similarly, medications should not be left in a hot car or glovebox, or in freezing weather. Medications remain most stable in dry, cool spaces away from light. Keep the prescription bottle caps tightly closed and always keep medications out of reach of children and pets.

There are some products that should not be used past their expiry date, such as:

  • Reconstituted antibiotic suspensions
  • Injectable drugs that look cloudy or which have precipitated
  • Insulin

Look For Visual Clues

If a pill crumbles in your hand, it’s probably best not to take it. But there are subtler clues, too, like smell: Too-old aspirin, for example, smells like vinegar. “Be suspicious of anything that looks out of the ordinary,” says Negrete. Faded dyes or funny smells may not actually mean the drug is less potent, but they’re clues that something’s decomposinga good reason to get a new bottle.

Is It Ever Ok To Take Expired Medication

Kaitlin Ahern

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eve all been there: After months of good health, a cold suddenly strikes, and you find yourself rooting through the dark corners of your medicine cabinet for a remedy. Or maybe a warm day in April triggers your long-dormant seasonal allergies, and you dig out an antihistamine you got last yearor was it two years ago?

Dr. Aran Maree, Chief Medical Officer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals

A quick glance tells you the medicine is past its expiration date, but at times like these, you may wonder: How bad is it, really, to go ahead and take iteven if it is potentially a little less effective?

It may surprise you to learn that reduced potency isn’t the only thing to worry about when drugs are out-of-date.

We talked to Dr. Aran MareeDr. Aran Maree, Chief Medical Officer for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Chief Medical Officer for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, to separate fact from fiction when it comes to expired medication.

A Place For Everything

Proper storage is one way to help make sure your medicines will remain safe and effective up to their expiration date. Be sure to read the label to see if there are specific storage instructions for your medicine. Certain medicines need to be stored in the refrigerator and others cannot be exposed to high temperatures. Improper storage such as a damp bathroom cabinet can contribute to decreased effectiveness in medicines that have not reached their posted expiration date. For most medicines, to help ensure the proper shelf life of your medicine, it is better to store medicine in a cool, dry place such as a dresser drawer, storage box, closet shelf, or kitchen cabinet.

When storing medicine in a kitchen cabinet make sure that it is away from hot appliances and the sink due to changing temperatures and humidity, which can affect the medicine. When storing medicine in a high traffic area, like a kitchen, care should be taken to prevent access by children at risk of accidental poisoning or others who may be tempted to take for abuse/misuse.

Remember to store medicines properly and dont use expired medicines — its not worth the risk! 

Is Paracetamol Safe After Expiry Date

Asthma Medecine Inhaler Holded By A Man Stock Photo ...

If he has no other alternative than the expired paracetamol, it may be better than nothing but it probably wont be 100% effective. But, of course, the situation would be different if we were talking about insulin, antibiotics or medicines with a discard date. These medicines should never be used beyond this date.

READ:  Does chlorophyll make you smell bad?

How Long Can You Take Medicine After The Expiration Date

Drs. Vogel and Supe agree its good not to take any over-the-counter drug thats expired, though both say to use your best judgment if you have a stockpile of meds. A week or a month, or even up to a year, after the expiration date probably wont hurt you, the medicine will just be less effective. Just because the expiration date has passed, doesnt mean the medication is immediately uselessbut thats different for every medication.

The molecule breakdown is not linear and not the same from molecule to molecule, Dr. Supe says. Therefore, there is no blanket statement as to when something is too expired.

That being said, a research team may have found information to debate expiration dates. On a study of 14 unopened medications that were all between 28 and 40 years expired, researchers found 86% of them retained at least 90% of the active drug. Still, though, because these results cant be guaranteed with medication thats already been opened or stored in less-than-optimal conditions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt support taking expired drugs.

When Do Antihistamines Expire

Antihistamines, one of the main types of allergy medicine, can be safe to use after the expiration date. 

For over-the-counter medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec, the listed expiration dates are typically around two and a half years after manufacturing. Expiration dates for prescription antihistamines are around one year, according to New Jersey-based pharmacist Kristin Frank.

OTC and prescription tablets are similar in makeup, and therefore can last the same amount of time. But prescriptions, , cannot have longer than one-year expiration dates. 

All allergy medicines are regulated by the FDA, which takes a strict, no-leeway stance on expired medicine for utmost safety and effectiveness. But a 2012 in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal found that expired medicines, including antihistamines, can remain effective for decades. 

The researchers studied the active ingredients in a set of decades-old drugs. Twelve of the 14 medications tested, including the antihistamine, retained full potency for at least 28 years. So why do antihistamines have a one-to-two-year shelf life?

According to Frank, manufacturers suggest expiration dates based on how long the active ingredients can stay potent. Manufacturers submit this research, which factors in storage variables like heat and humidity, when applying for drug approval to the FDA. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Expired Medication

Expired medical products 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.

First Consider The Safety Risks

Taking expired medicine can be risky, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . The issues include:

  • It may not actually work:“If a drug has degraded, it might not provide the patient with the intended benefit because it has a lower strength than intended,” according to the FDA. That is, expired medication may not be effective. That’s particularly problematic with prescription medications; if they’re not effective, you could be in danger.
  • There could be side effects: That’s due to the medication “yield toxic compounds,” per the FDA.

It’s best to safely dispose of all out-of-date medication, per the FDA.

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Medications

Don’t throw expired or unused medications in the trash. Instead, follow these guidelines from the .

  • If medications are OK to flush down the toilet, go ahead and do so.
  • For meds that shouldn’t be flushed, crush the pills and mix them with unappealing garbage , then place the mixture in the sealed plastic bag. Place that bag in the trash.
  • For prescription medicine, remove any identifying information before disposing of the packaging.

The Test For Using Expired Medications

For medications that do not need to be refrigerated or that do not need to be at full potency to ensure your life and well-being, you can get away with taking them months after their , Sierant says. So, for example, you can take that expired aspirin for your headache but you should order a new bottle of insulin instead of using one that hit expiration even a day ago.

What If I Take Too Much

Acrivastine is generally very safe. Taking too much is unlikely to harm you. If you take an extra dose by mistake, you might get some of the common side effects.

If this happens or you’re concerned, contact your doctor.

Urgent advice: Call your doctor or go to A&E straight away if:

You take too much acrivastine and pseudoephedrine and experience side effects.

These include:

What Medications Are Unsafe After The Expiration Date

Some medications are simply ineffective after their expiration. Others, like these, are harmful.

  • and : These antibiotics become hazardous with time, Rauch says. Tetracycline in particular is known to cause kidney damage after the use-by date.
  • Supplements: These arent regulated as well as FDA-approved medication, Dr. Supe says, so be more safe than sorry and avoid taking them if theyre expired.
  • Eye drops: Expired eye drops lose their pH balance and can end up burning your eyes, Dr. Supe says.
  • Injectable/IV drugs: This is mostly a concern in hospitals, but Dr. Vogel says patients will never receive expired medicine in a medical facility.


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