What to do with expired medicines?

What to do with expired medicines

You can plan your use of medications by knowing when they must be used by. Medications may no longer be as safe or as effective after their expiration date. Medication that has passed its expiration date should not be taken. Before using a medication that you’ve kept for a while, make sure to verify the expiration date. Additionally, be certain that the medication has been stored according to the instructions on the container or leaflet. Even if your medication is still within its expiration date, take it to your pharmacist for guidance if it appears, tastes, or smells differently than when you initially received it.

A Drug expiration date is decided by whom?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States started imposing an expiration date on prescription and over-the-counter drugs since 1979. A proposed expiration date and storage requirements, supported by testing and data, must be included in the FDA application when a pharmaceutical company files a new medication for approval.

Where can you find a medication’s expiration date?

The expiration date is usually stamped or printed on the bottle or carton, occasionally after the initials as “EXP.”

Why do medicines go off-date or expire?

Medications have active components that deteriorate and lose potency over time. Meanwhile, this may result in significant health issues. Additionally, there is a chance that as medications deteriorate, other chemical compounds could form that could cause side effects.

Another crucial aspect of maintaining the effectiveness and safety of drugs is storage. Check the label of your prescription to see if there are any special recommendations for storage. Most should be stored in a dry, cool environment. Even before they reach the marked expiration date, extreme temperatures or temperature fluctuations might have an impact on how well they function. Due to the possibility of bacterial or fungal growth, this is particularly crucial for liquid treatments.

What should you do with a medicines when it has expired?

Medication that have expired should be thrown away or properly disposed of. Consult your local police or public health department, and study FDA rules for drug disposal. In April and October, communities across the country participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). October 23, 2021, is the date for the next one.

What’s the easiest way to get rid of medications that has expired?

Follow these instructions to properly dispose of your prescription if it has expired or if your doctor has advised you not to take it any longer.

  • Fill the medication bottle to the brim.
  • Combine the unused or expired medication with coffee grounds, cat litter, or some other repulsive material.
  • Put the mixture in a closed container, such as a sandwich bag made of plastic.
  • Put it in the garbage for your household.
  • Scratch off all readable personal information from the prescription label if the medication was prescribed to you, then discard the bottle.


Regularly checking expiration dates for your medications should be good habit. Talk to a pharmacist if you ever have any concerns about the effectiveness, safety, or expiration date of a drug. To ensure you always have the support you need, Express Scripts Pharmacy offers 24/7 access to specially trained pharmacists.