The expiration date of medicines and drugs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the proper use of medicines and drugs is very important, which means that the person receives the appropriate medication according to their clinical need, in the corresponding doses according to their own individual requirements. patient, for the most appropriate period. For this, it is fundamental that it is only the medical professional who dedicates what type of medication should be used.

However, as many experts say -and warn-, self-medication is very common, and not only self-medication but also the abusive use of medication without an adequate medical prescription.

Drug expiration date

When taking medications we must attend to different elements and basic, fundamental and important questions to avoid possible overdoses and adverse reactions that in many cases can be very serious for our health. One of these elements is the Date of Expiry , or current date in the consumption of drugs.

What is the expiration date of a medication?

As it happens with the perishable foods that we consume every day in our diet, the medicines and drugs that we consume for the treatment of a certain disease or health condition have a certain Date of Expiry .

The fact that a drug has an expiration date does not mean, as it happens with food, that after that date the drug spoils or becomes bad. It basically means that the medicine in its original container and state will remain stable until the expiration date indicated . This does not imply that the medication can be 'unstable' after the expiration date, but according to real scientific studies or extrapolations carried out from degradation studies, the properties of the drug may be affected .

We must speak at this point about the "useful life" of the drug, given that it is the time that the drug remains stable and maintains more than 90% of its initial medicinal potential, as long as its storage conditions are the most appropriate.

We recommend you read Where to store medicines at home .

That is, the expiration date is based primarily on the stability of the market in its original container, not manipulated or opened. Nowadays no expirations greater than 2 or 3 years from the manufacture of the drug are accepted .

Why is the expiration date of a drug or medication so important?

In a medicine or drug it is a very important element to take into account before consumption, since it is indicated or specified as the maximum time until which the physical and chemical characteristics, potency and purity of the drug are guaranteed. , based on results and stability tests carried out for this purpose.

expiration date-drugs

However, we must not only attend to the expiration date of the drug, since there are elements that can degrade the different pharmaceutical specialties without having anything to do with their expiration date. That is, they can lose property even when they are within the recommended consumption date. Even more, in vital or very specific treatments it is very important to respect the expiration date indicated by the manufacturer , since it will be a guarantee that the drug will maintain 100% properties of the active ingredient.

For example, humidity affects a drug more than heat . The same applies to the pharmaceutical form of the product in question, since liquid forms (such as syrups or ophthalmic solutions) tend to be less stable than solid forms. Thus, it is important to note the existence of some change in the physical aspect or the color of the drug (for example, any degree of turbidity, or changes in the appearance or in the color), since in case of finding it we must discard and recycle the medication always as a precaution.

Images | ISTOCKPHOTO / THINKSTOCK

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