Do you discard medicines once they expire? Even though it is important to check the expiration dates when you take medicines, many people tend to disregard them. Even if you take the medicine within the expiration dates, wrong storage can make it lose its efficacy. Here are some facts about drug expiration dates and things you want to pay attention when you store them.
Expiration dates mean the effectiveness of the medicine. If it passes the expiration date, your drug is basically impotent. Although it may look just fine, chemical reaction in your body won’t be the same past the expiration date. Even when there is no side effect for intake of old drugs, there is no point if it’s ineffective.
If you look closely, you will notice that most of drugs last for one year. Most of drugs are made to last for two years. However, since storage of medicine has crucial effect on the duration of efficacy, many of the drugs expire within shorter periods of time.
Some people store their medicines in refrigerators with intensions to extend the expiration dates. However, this method is at best ineffective, mostly rather harmful. If you freeze your medicines, chances of spoilage is increased.
Then how should I store them? First thing to avoid when storing medicines is humidity. Humid rooms, such as bathroom and kitchen, should be avoided. Also, direct sunlight may cause chemical reactions, so store medicines in shades.
Hygiene is an extra additional thing to be careful when using liquid medicines. Clean the mouth of bottle after each use to prevent increase of germs. You don’t necessarily have to store liquid medicines in refrigerator unless notified.
Temperature is a crucial factor that decides spoilage. Because of that, storing medicines in your car is not a good idea, especially during the summer time.
Original document available from www.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?page=7&branch=NEWS&source=&category=lifenleisure.health&art_id=4095011
Translated by Heewon Kim