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Even 10 years after the expiration date many pharmaceuticals retain a significant amount of their original potency Important note: Solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules, are most stable past their expiration date.
Drugs that exist in solution or as a reconstituted suspension may not have the required potency if used when outdated. The aim of the SLEP program was to reduce medication costs for the military.
Observing the expiration date is obligatory for the following medications: The wisdom suggests that if your life does depend on an outdated drug, and you must have 100% of the original strength, it is wise to follow the cliché "better safe than sorry".
If your life does not depend on an expired drug -- such as you have headache, common cold, or constipation -- you may take the medication and see what happens.
This process is not in anyway spontaneous after the expiry date.
There are virtually no reports of toxicity from degradation products of outdated drugs.For example, if a company chooses a three year expiration date, it does not have to test beyond that for prolonged effectiveness.In fact, medication's potency gradually decreases starting from the moment of its manufacture.The active ingredients tested for were: aspirin, amphetamine, phenacetin, methaqualone, codeine, butalbital, caffeine, phenobarbital, meprobamate, pentobarbital, secobarbital, hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine, and acetaminophen.The results showed that 11 (79%) of the 14 drug compounds were always present in concentrations of at least 90% of the amount indicated on the drug label, which is generally recognized as the minimum acceptable potency.