Expiration dates on drugs do mean something, but perhaps not what you’re thinking. In 1979, a law was passed that required drug manufacturers to stamp an expiration date on all their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer will still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.
On the expiration date the drug must offer at least 90% of its original potency under proper storage conditions. Contrary to popular belief, the expiration date DOES NOT suggest the time when a medication is no longer effective or becomes somehow harmful.
Generally speaking, drugs expire 2 – 5 years after their production date, and the FDA requires manufacturers determine actual long-term drug potency and stability.
Let’s take a look at some other common questions about expired medications. Learn More