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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:34 pm 
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Does anyone have a table or other resources showing what the real shelf life of OTC meds are?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:46 pm 
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We were at a prepping seminar and a Dr. there said one year after the expiration date is usually a definite safe bet for pills. She did STRONGLY warn though to be careful of ANYTHING with accelerator pumps, like inhalers (Primatene Mist, etc.) the medicine might be fine, but the chemical used for the accelerant can expire and cause damage to your lungs (don't know if that is the right word or not, but I am sure you know what I mean). She used some expired Asthma inhaler medicine and wound up burning her lungs because the chemicals went bad, not the medicine.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:58 pm 
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There is no definitive way to determine the shelf life. There are just too many factors, including what types of meds, were the meds in their original packaging, were the stored in a cool, dry place, where they exposed to sunlight, etc., etc., etc.

Best bet is to keep OTC meds in original packaging (as long as possible) or similar airtight container, in a cool, dry, place out of sunlight. Even then,using something past 6 months or so over due-date is pushing it, IMO.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:08 am 
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The Highwayman wrote:
Even then,using something past 6 months or so over due-date is pushing it, IMO.

The FDA has required all drug manufacturers to include expiration dates on their packaging since 1979. A 1985 study conducted by the FDA for the US Air Force concluded that the expiration dates specified by most manuafacturers were intentionally conservative, and that approximately 80% of all OTC and Rx medications tested remained safe and effective three years past the expiration date.

Other than precipitates forming in some IV fluids and reports of Fanconi Syndrome linked to the pH buffer originally used in tetracycline back in the 1960's, I'm not aware of any medications actually becoming toxic, rather some merely lose their efficacy over time.

Proper storage, as described by TH above, is a key factor.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:36 pm 
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http://www.associatedcontent.com/articl ... tions.html

Imagine if you will, there is a drug study is going on. In this study the organizers of the study are going to give you a substance which may or may not be toxic, then not monitor you at all, and there will be no follow up. Also, you will get paid zero dollars for participating in this study. If you want to enroll, all you have to do is to take expired medicines. I wont stop you, you are an adult and responsible for your actions. Good luck.

On a serious note, almost all medicines will go far past their expiration date, or fall far short of it. Medicine is just like milk. If you left the jug on the counter instead of the refrigerator, the milk will probably last less time than the printed expiration date. In the freezer, that jug of milk will last longer then in the fridge.

If you want tablet medicine to last a longer time; cold, dark, and dry come to my mind. But seriously, this side of the PAW, go buy new ones.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:55 am 
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My service pulls drugs 3 months prior to experiation due to the excessive heat in AZ.

They are supposed to be fine with a 1 year buffer for certain reasons I have heard as rumors like a Katrina event but nationwide and such.

Some expired meds get sent to third world countries.....

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'86 damn almost missed this cutoff. I remember baywatch ya then I became a lifeguard and was like wtf this isn't the same......

I honestly thought you were around 45 + :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:25 am 
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The Major problem you would have with medicine is not it becomming dangerous, but it becomming less and less effective, at an unknown rate. So saftey limits might not be known. if for example, you were using paracetamol OTC tablets, and you reckond they were only working half as well as they should, normal dosage isn't helping, you might take double doses, and do some liver damage, because you can't determine it's strength and so forth.

I just keep a rotating stock of Medicine, use up the old stuff and store the new stuff I buy.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:02 am 
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Perhaps I should buy less then? The motrin's and allergy meds get used up a good rate but some of them just sit there and I end up tossing out a new bottle of whatever after 3 years. As much as I like being prepared I hate waste even more.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:40 pm 
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For OTC meds I have a big bottle from the big box stores then I just buy a few little ones for the car and such.

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Rush2112 wrote:
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'86 damn almost missed this cutoff. I remember baywatch ya then I became a lifeguard and was like wtf this isn't the same......

I honestly thought you were around 45 + :lol:

He's crotchety enough.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:57 pm 
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Blacksmith wrote:
Perhaps I should buy less then? The motrin's and allergy meds get used up a good rate but some of them just sit there and I end up tossing out a new bottle of whatever after 3 years. As much as I like being prepared I hate waste even more.


While it doesn't make sense to buy in bulk to save money if you don't use in bulk and wind up Wasting the excess, think on it this way: say the 24 count bottle is 5.99 (0.25 per used pill if you use 'em all) and the 100 count bottle is 9.99 (.10 per used pill if you use 'em all) You may wind up throwing away half of them at the end of three years, but your per used pill cost is .20, which is still a savings. (your math may vary)

Also, another way to put it, is it worth the extra $4 to have the assurance that there will always, but always, be an Immodium in the house if you need one?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:05 pm 
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I hate throwing out unused meds as much as anyone, perhaps even more when you consider what the annual expired meds/supplies cost is for just my STOMP II. The thought of what I'd probably be willing to part with in exchange for a bottle of aspirin, Benadryl, suture kit, or an IV bag of NS a couple of years into the PAW is enough to make me stop sniveling about the costs.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:20 pm 
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I feel you on the whole unused medicine expense. My classic example of this is Aspirin: I dont use Aspirin for anything but I need to keep a small amount around for my kits...so I cheat and hit to local bodega and buy a couple unitized doses for like a buck and call it a day. For other stuff which I use very little of its mostly about gaining the experience to buy "just enough".

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:09 pm 
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Aspirin is actually pretty easy, they almost always have it at the dollar store for... a dollar. Other stuff can be a bit more however.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:13 pm 
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Apologies for Necro- ing this thread, but I was searching for any threads on the shelf life of medical supplies (non-meds) and this popped up.
Just so anyone surfing through this later on knows, the DOD and FDA have been running SLEP (Shelf Life Extension Program) wherein the military sends a sample from a batch of meds that has been in storage long past it's printed expiration date to the FDA and it is tested to see if the compound retains at least 90% of it's effectiveness. According to the study a large number of meds are effective WAY past the expiration date given my the manufacturer.
Use google, find the study, read, and use your judgement.

As an example, Doxycycline Hyclate which has (according to the manufacturer) a shelf life of 24 months has found to last on average 74 months (minimum extension 37 mo, maximum 66 mo). So on average it's been found to be effective after 6 years....not the 2 years on the package.
If I were to be considering using old Doxycycline I'd not expect to get the max extended shelf life, nor would I expect the average. I'd be thinking about the minimum extened shelf life.
All this assumes you've done a good job of keeping the meds in a cool, dark place with low humidity.

YMMV :awesome:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:53 am 
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Yep there is actually a big list the military compiled of drugs that can last years past their stated shelf life. Even a list of how the potency drops over even longer times. Problem is you have to have military clearance to see this list. They have an agreement with the FDA not to disclose the results. I have heard from a few people who served in the military who have seen the list, and they have said it is quite shocking how many drugs are thrown away that could be kept much longer than the date printed on them.

That said, there was one thing I learned about that absolutely should not be used past the expiration and could actually turn to poison shortly after the expiration date. That is water purification tablets. I honestly think a lot of people who think they are prepared might end up dead from old water purification tablets. I know many folks who don't think to check the dates on them but rely heavily on water purification tablets for their bug out preps.

There is of course the famous Patriot Nurse video on this subject.



SkinnyMedic also got in on the topic too.

\

And there are plenty of other videos and articles out there. But I have3 yet to see an actual list. Sure would be nice though to have one.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:38 am 
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I had hear rumor of this list four years ago when I asked the question but have yet to come across it. Still like to see it. Wikileaks anyone?

:lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:31 pm 
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latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-expired-drugs-still-work-study-20121008,0,6591417.story
************
The LA Times online had an article reporting researchers tested the effectiveness of eight drugs that had been sitting around, unopened, in pharmacies a full 28 to 40 years past their official expiration dates.
http://www.latimes.com/health/boostersh ... 1417.story
Out of the 14 active ingredients, 12 were still at high enough concentration – 90% of the amount stated on the label – to qualify as having “acceptable potency,” the researchers found. These included:
Acetaminophen, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Phenacetin, Caffeine, Chlorpheniramine, Pentobarbital, Butalbital, Secobarbital, Phenobarbital, Meprobamate, Methaqualone., The only active ingredients that missed the 90% cutoff were aspirin and the stimulant amphetamine.
The article mentions that the federal Shelf-Life Extension Program allows drugs in federal stockpiles to be retained for up to 278 months after their stated expiration date


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:46 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
I had hear rumor of this list four years ago when I asked the question but have yet to come across it. Still like to see it. Wikileaks anyone?

:lol:


Here is the portal to see it, but you need the right username and password to get access.

https://slep.dmsbfda.army.mil/portal/page/portal/SLEP_PAGE_GRP/SLEP_HOME

While not the actual list, this is the most detailed offical document about it that I have found access to.

http://www.astho.org/Programs/Preparedness/Public-Health-Emergency-Law/Emergency-Use-Authorization-Toolkit/Federal-Shelf-Life-Extension-Program-Fact-Sheet/

I sure as hell would love to see the actual list and how much longer things last past the expiration, but so far Snowden and Assange haven't given it to us.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:51 am 
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Submitted a FOIA request for the info almost exactly one year ago, the FDA contacted me about last December, by phone, and said (even with just the summary info I had requested) that the request would likely run into the many thousands of dollars in research ($80 hourly rate) fees and printing costs. I had put a $100 limit on my request.

Shortly after, I submitted a new FOIA to them for only one drug, erythromycin, and asking only for the summary information on the most recent test results for that specific drug. The same woman from the FDA contacted me again, and advised me this request could likely run upwards of a $1,000 dollars or so, and asking if I was willing to raise my limit above the $100. No. I asked about getting the fee waived, unlikely she said. I pressed on the specifics on why it was so much when I could probably write a SQL query in 10 mins to get the info out of their database if I had the schema/column layout of it - she didn't have an answer. She then asked that, since I was unwilling to raise the limit, could she cancel my FOIA. I said no.

Snowden - please help!

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=108176&p=2412807&

Edit:
Strength in numbers maybe? File your own FOIA request for the SLEP results here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/f ... stform.cfm


Last edited by CrossCut on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:58 am 
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The vast majority of things last surprisingly longer than you think. I know because I've been issued expired things for the last 6 years of work and still use them. They want you to throw shit out so you have to buy it again FROM THEM.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:06 am 
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In addition to water purification tablets becoming poison after their expiry, tetracycline as well becomes dangerous: "Minocycline, like most tetracyclines, becomes dangerous past its expiration date.[20] While most prescription drugs lose potency after their expiration dates, tetracyclines are known to become toxic over time. Expired tetracyclines can cause serious damage to the kidney due to the formation of a degradation product, anhydro-4-epitetracycline.[20]" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minocycline

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:33 am 
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TAB wrote:
In addition to water purification tablets becoming poison after their expiry, tetracycline as well becomes dangerous: "Minocycline, like most tetracyclines, becomes dangerous past its expiration date.[20] While most prescription drugs lose potency after their expiration dates, tetracyclines are known to become toxic over time. Expired tetracyclines can cause serious damage to the kidney due to the formation of a degradation product, anhydro-4-epitetracycline.[20]" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minocycline

Actually, according to the last research/data that I'm aware of regarding tetracycline is that it does NOT in fact become dangerous past it's expiration date. The idea that it became toxic stems from a binder used in it's manufature up until the 1960's. That binder DID cause a toxicity issue as it degraded. Tetracycilne made after the 60's, and therefor without that binder, will not become toxic past it's labled expiration date.

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