Q:

What happens if you take expired medicine?

A:

Quick Answer

Nothing adverse will happen if a person takes expired medicine, as stated by Drugs.com; however, the medicine may not work as intended. The expiration date on the label is used by manufacturers to show the period when the medicine if fully potent. This means that a drug that is not used before its expiration date will slowly lose its effectiveness, thus may not be helpful in treating the condition for which it was meant.

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Full Answer

Solid medications, such as capsules and tablets, have appeared to be effective even after passing the expiration date. Medication that are in the form of a solution may not have the same potency after they expire. Some drugs that are available in solution may become discolored or form a precipitant. Such drugs should be disposed off and not be used at all. There are some drugs, such as EpiPen autoinjectors, that lose their potency completely after the expiration date.

It has been noted that proper storage of medications may help to extend their potency. Typically, drugs should not be kept in places with high humidity and heat. The bottom line is that a patient can use expired medicine if he or she may not be capable to replace the medicine in time, as stated by Drugs.com.

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