Are Expired Medicines Safe to Use for Children?

Medicine DropperRead one pharmacist’s answer here.

Briefly:

Expiration dates were established in 1979 to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medications.

Medications that have been stored in their original containers under controlled conditions (not your medicine cabinet) retain much of their original effectiveness.

Medications for life-threatening conditions, like epinephrine pens for anaphylactic allergic reactions, should not be used after their expiration date. Tablets that are discolored, have a strong odor or discoloration should not be used. Liquids should not be cloudy. Preservatives in open bottles of eye drops or nasal sprays may no longer be effective.

 

About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at WebMD.com, Rx.com, and MyLifePath.com. She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. BabyCenter.com currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit www.LMAsta.com
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