Don’t throw away expired medicine just yet, study advises

February 26, 2019

People in remote countries sometimes cannot get required medicine as quickly or more than once a year.  A study finds that certain expired medicine may provide solution to this dilemma as they may retain efficacy even if they are not kept in strict climate-controlled conditions.

Lead study author Dr. Emma Browne of the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit, UK, noted that huge amounts of medication are thrown away unused or expired, which greatly costs the public.Browne explained that the expiry date does not necessarily render the drug ineffective or dangerous.

However, Dr. Patil Armenian of the University of California, San Francisco, said that expiration dates and stability data would be necessary to know for rescue medication, which often loses its chemical stability on exposure to heat, and degrades quickly.

The long-term stability and safety of medications in various environmental conditions are then rightly important, hence the study tested the stability of five expired drugs from the British Antarctic Survey – operating in the Antarctic region with on-site medical and dental facilities. The drugs are ordered annually in May, only to reach the freezing bases in December, after months at sea.

The expired drugs were compared to fresh samples of the same medications to check their chemical stability and retention of the active ingredient. All the tested drugs were found to be stable, and still effective.

Regardless, Browne has advised consumers to adhere to recommended expiry dates of medications for daily use, especially those for treatment, such as for high blood pressure.

Tags: ,

Category: Education, Features

Comments are closed.