What happens if I take out-of-date medication?

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What happens if I take out-of-date medication?

What if I take out-of-date medication? It's a question we all have wondered more than once after having discovered that some of the medication that we have been keeping has expired. The information on the packaging does not normally say what happens when it goes out-of-date. At OneHowto we want explain some things to clear up any doubts you have, but we always recommend that you follow the advice of your doctor or pharmacist.

Steps to follow:

First, it is important to know what exactly the expiration date of medication means to better understand what happens after we pass this date. It is the period during which the manufacturer fully guarantees the effects and properties of the drug, provided that it has been stored properly.

That is to say, the expiry date indicates how long the pharmaceutical company ensures that the drug is at its full strength and will have effective results.


In this way, the expiration date is simply a guarantee that it will work and will be effective before that date. To this day, there is no evidence that an expired medication is toxic. The only potential consequence is that it may not be as powerful as when it is not expired. Therefore, it does not mean you should stop using it on the day it expires, it just means they won't guarantee that it will be as effective after this date. It is important to remember that the conditions under which the drug has been kept will also influence its effectiveness. Another thing to take into account is the type of medicine. If it is a liquid medication that is meant to be kept in the fridge, it may be a lot less potent when expired than a solid tablet.


Therefore, with regards to your question "What happens if I take out-of-date medication?" The answer is "nothing". So there's no need to worry, it will not cause you to suffer from side effects and will not kill you. Depending on how long it has been since the expiry date of the drug, it can continue to do its job or it may have lost some, or even all, of its effectiveness.


So while we can say that expired medication may continue to work as if nothing has changed, it is possible that they are rendered useless. Therefore, if the medication is important to your health, such as an EpiPen or insulin, it is strongly recommended to throw it away past its expiration date.


Before taking any medication - even if it is still in date - it is important to check its condition and make sure that it has not changed colour, smell, has gone soft, etc.


Health officials recommend getting rid of expired drugs to avoid risks, by taking them to special pharmacy deposit points.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What happens if I take out-of-date medication?, we recommend you visit our Drugs & supplements category.

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Judith Evans
The date on the sealed box states expiry date i 08/2024. Upon opening box Im astonished to see the expiry date of the medication is 10/2021 - already ot of date when dispensed 22/11/2021!

How is this right, and,more importantly, what can I do about it?
anybody know about out of date terazadone
What happens if I take out-of-date medication?
What happens if I take out-of-date medication?

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