The word expiry of course means it’s over. But what happens when you’re feeling too unwell to check the expiry date on the tablet or syrup, and end up consuming it?
Or, you have a bunch of very expensive medicines in your cabinet, but are not sure if you should throw them out, just because it’s past the expiry date.
What do you do now? We help you understand this a little better.
What does expiry date on a medicine mean?
The expiry date is mainly an indicator of the expiry of its potency, which means the mentioned date is the date till when the medicine will give you the said medical effects to its full potency and safety.
The expiration date DOES NOT mean that, from the given date of expiry, the medicine will become toxic and can cause you any harm.
What medicines should not be used after the expiry date
If it is a life-saving drug, it should definitely NOT BE USED after the expiration date. Also, drugs that are meant for heart or diabetes patients, as well as eye drops and oral contraceptives should NOT BE TAKEN past the expiry date.
What to look out for
Of course you should not consume any medicine if it has:
Changed its original consistency or texture
Turned soft or liquidy (in case of tablets)
Separated into visible layers (in case of liquids)
What will happen if you consume a medical tablet or syrup past its expiry date?
In most cases, when you consume a medicine that is past its expiry date, you will not get the desired results you were looking for. If it is slightly past the expiry date, it can give you very less relief, but if it is way past the expiry date, it might not give you any relief at all.
Once the expiry date is over, the concentration of the impurities in the tablet or syrup will start to increase. This means that it can lead to certain side effects if you still take it. However, if you have only taken one or two tablets or maybe a small dose of the syrup, you may not experience any side effects as such.
In some cases, however, you can suffer a severe reaction when you take a drug that is past its expiry. Taking a doxycycline or tetracycline can cause severe damage to your kidneys if it is over the expiry date.
To make sure you are safe and that your medicines give you the results they are intended to give, check the expiry date periodically and first use up the ones that are nearing expiry date, before buying a replacement.