Medications over their expiry date can pose health risks
26th July 2012
A survey conducted on behalf of over the counter medicine range Care, has found that an alarming two-thirds of all adults could possess and use medication that has long passed its date of expiration. The worrying statistic was determined after 5,000 adults were quizzed. The results indicated that a quarter of British adults have willingly ingested out of date medicine, clearly unaware of the health risks this could pose to them. A further 7% were under the assumption that medicines do not have a shelf life. More results from the study show that approximately two-fifths of adults do not bother to look at the important patient information leaflets provided with medications, and 12% admitted that they simply just guess what the right dose is that they should take. The figure of 62% of adults having medicine out of date, works out at roughly 73 million out of date products just in the UK alone. Health authorities may now need to act and devise a scheme to help encourage people to regularly check the medicines they have sitting in their cabinets at home, see if they are in date, and if not – then dispose of them in a safe manner. A London based GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis, says, “It is extremely worrying to hear so many of us are taking out of date medicines. Just like food that goes off, medicines past their expiry date can deteriorate and make you ill. You need to be particularly careful with your eyes, nose or a wound as these areas are especially prone to letting in bacteria.” Dr Jarvis’ comments were supported by English Pharmacy Board member Sid Dajani who commented, “People are risking their lives by not taking the use by dates on their medicines seriously. The danger is what they don't do for you - anti-seizure drugs resulting in fits, people with asthma suffocating because their blue inhaler doesn't work or pregnancy tests showing a false negative because the active HCG reagent is too old. I urge everybody to check the use by date before taking medication, and to return out of date medicines to their local pharmacy where they'll be disposed of safely.” Medical Specialists Pharmacy advise that you never simply place unused or expired medicines into the rubbish bin or flush them down the toilet. For instance, there is a big risk that babies and children will get the medicine from the bin and ingest them. Also, medication can eventually end up contaminating local drinking water systems after being flushed down the toilet or be hazardous to the environment. You should take unwanted or expired medicines to a pharmacy, who can dispose of them safely. In regards to Medical Specialists Pharmacy, you do not ever need to worry about out of date products. We have a strict and rigorous system in place that ensures all of our prescription medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Propecia, Dianette, etc. are well in-date, and this applies to our chemist shop items too such as condoms and hair loss products such as Alpecin shampoo.