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Many Medications Remain Safe and Effective Well Past Their Expiration Dates

Expired Drugs

Story at-a-glance -

  • Prescription drugs typically have an expiration date of one to five years, but many "expired" drugs are just as potent as when they were originally made, even several years past their expiration date
  • Researchers analyzed eight prescription drugs that expired between 28 and 40 years ago and found that most were just as potent as when they were made
  • Nitroglycerin, insulin and liquid antibiotics are three drugs that do NOT tend to keep well past their expiration date
  • The federal government advises throwing most unused or expired medications into the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet, but comprehensive water testing across the entire US shows that no matter how the drugs are disposed, they end up in the water supply
  • Trace amounts of more than 150 different human and veterinary medicines have been detected in environments. According to the USGS, 80 percent of the streams in the US, along with nearly 25 percent of the nation’s groundwater is contaminated with a variety of pharmaceuticals

By Dr. Mercola

Now, as you know, I am not a big fan of using prescription drugs for just about any reason. I don't take them, nor do my parents who are 77 and 83. However, I realize that many reading this are in a transition phase or simply unwilling to get off of them at this time.


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