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When To Trust Expiration Dates

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So, you have a splitting headache and you make your way to your medicine cabinet. You grit your teeth and work through the pain, reach for the bottle of ibuprofen, and look at the label only to notice that it expired nine and a half years ago. Now what?

Many of us have had parallel experiences, sometimes keeping medicines in our cabinets for extremely long periods of time, far surpassing the expiration date printed on the bottle. As your trusted online drugstore, we want to provide you with helpful information about that medicine cabinet! How do you navigate those expiration dates?

There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Some folks treat the expiration date as hard and fast rule, throwing anything out the day after it’s past. Others ignore expiration dates altogether. So, what do we know about these mysterious expiration dates? Be it muti-vitamins, sunscreen, anti-inflammatories, or pink liquids for your gassy tummy, The Online Drugstore can help you know how to meaningfully interpret expiration dates.

Expiration Dates: What Do They Mean?

It turns out that expiration dates are legally required to be printed on all the products from drug manufacturers. This has been the case since the 1970s after the FDA conducted a study to see if the potency of drugs was greatly diminished after stretches of time. This study was pushed by the American military which, at the time, had a very large and very expensive stockpile of drugs and was at risk of having to discard all of it.

So, what did the research from the FDA uncover? As it turns out, the research showed that the vast majority of drugs maintain their potency for many, many years after their manufacture date. Indeed, subsequent research has shown that most medicine will maintain its potency even 15 years after its expiration date.

Expiration Dates: What To Do Now?

Research has shown that expiration dates on drugs are largely meaningless. However, there is some indication that the effectiveness of a drug can slightly decrease after several years. The potency can be maintained by keeping your drugs in a cool place like the refrigerator.

What might be the reason for including expiration dates on drugs, then? There are a variety of reasons. One reason might simply be effective marketing. Importantly, however, the expiration dates on drugs can be viewed as a way for the manufacturers to ensure maximum potency, and thus provide conservative estimates for when the potency might start to decline. In short, the expiration date acts as a time at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.

The Online Drugstore

The Online Drugstore has a fantastic selection of products for any of your needs. Keep in mind that the research on expiration dates applies specifically to drugs, and not other kinds of more-perishable products. As always, if you have any questions about the safety or effectiveness of any drug or other types of products, ask your pharmacist. 

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