We’ve all had this situation happen to us: you have a cold that came out of nowhere. You’re sneezing and coughing constantly and it only seems to be getting worse. However, the pills you have to cure you of this cold have expired earlier in the year! With Tylenol or Aspirin this may not be such a big issue, but when it comes to highly expensive prescription medications such as Januvia, it can be dangerous to assume the medication is the same. It can be difficult to get rid of medication that may still be effective—especially if it is expensive and you acquired it through discounted means such as a prescription assistance program. Such medications are valuable these days.
Are Expiration Dates on Drugs Important?
In the simplest terms, an expiration on a drug is the date by which the manufacturer cedes all responsibility for the stability and potency of the drug. After that date, the liability for anything that occurs falls on the shoulders of the person who chooses to use the medication after that date.
Many people suspect that medications last much, much longer than this—and they’d be correct. While manufacturers do sometimes create dates that are seemingly reasonable such as 12-36 months from packaging date, understand that medications are stable for longer than this. The reason for these dates is simply for legal coverage as we discussed earlier.
How Long After Date Does Medication Last?
Legal coverage seems to account for much of the dating and best by date instructions given. For example, pharmacies will also print their own recommendations for which drugs may be good and by what date. The reason for this is that the Board of Pharmacy in many states requires that pharmacies print conditional terms detailing how medication should be discarded by a certain date after the bottle has been opened—even if it was opened by you.
This is likely due to the fact that while most medications are highly stable after expiration dates, the pharmacy cannot account for how the medication will be treated after it is handed off.
Medications that must be refrigerated such as insulin are highly susceptible to losing their potency and degrading under less than optimal conditions. Some commonly known medications that DO in fact lose potency are insulin, nitroglycerin, and liquid antibiotics.
Notice how the medications that are advised for you to be cautious with are highly dose dependent. Miscalculated insulin doses can be debilitating in the short and long term. Nitroglycerin is a medication that is used to treat heart failure and blood flow issues. Needless to say, antibiotics must work in full for them to be effective—I’m sure you can recall having to take antibiotics and your doctor stressing the importance finishing the entire quantity given to you even if you feel better sooner rather than later.
How to Keep Medication Fresh?
While we’ve discussed how medication—especially things like pills and capsules, stay stable for a long time, there are things that you can do which will either degrade the medicine or keep it pristine. As you may have seen on the bottles of most medications, it is best to keep medicine away from sunlight. Ideally, medicine should be stored in a cool, dry space that is away from light. Many people mistakenly keep their medications on countertops or worse yet near windowsills in their bedrooms.
As we alluded to earlier, pharmacies know that storage conditions vary dramatically, and this matters a great deal in some cases. For this reason, discarding medicine a certain time after opening or by a certain date is fairly ingrained within the public. Because we also know that most of these medications are still potent and usable, consider just how much waste and how much of a financial burden
Is It Safe to Consume Expired Medications?
There was a rather famous report in the 60s that detailed how degraded tetracycline led to a type of kidney damage known as “Fanconi Syndrome”. It’s important to know that this was never adequately proven and that formulation of tetracycline is no longer sold in the United States.
Dosage types such as capsules and tablets are the most stable past expiration date. If you are using any type of drug that is in liquid form or requires refrigeration, it is best to strictly heed the expiration date as well as go so far as to inspect the solution to ensure it is not cloudy or has any strange particles in it.
Prescription Assistance Programs
It is a very commonly searched for question, “can I take expired medication”, or some form of that. Why? Millions of Americans in the United States are uninsured or underinsured, on top of this, they have difficulties paying for their food, utilities, rent, etc. In order to survive, many of these people cut costs where they can—and sadly this is often cutting costs for prescription medications that they are in dire need of.
As you may know firsthand, prescription medication prices have been exploding in price over the past decade and show no signs of getting cheaper. This has left many Americans without any reasonable way to acquire the medications they need at an affordable price. What many of these people do not know is that prescription drug manufacturers offer something called a prescription assistance program. These programs offer brand name prescription medications at a discounted price for those who meet their eligibility criteria.
Application to these programs can be very tedious and time-consuming as a great deal of information must be organized. Our team at Rx Solution are experts at taking you through the application process in a timely and error-free manner so that you may have the best chance of acquiring prescription assistance for medications such as Chantix, Januvia, Trulicity, and many more.
It may be tempting to try and fill these applications out yourself—and you could do that, but consider that there are many complications to the application process that could slow down or outright cause your application to be denied. Requirements for approval vary from drug manufacturer to manufacturer, if you find yourself in need of more than one medication (as many people do), it quickly becomes a full-time job of trying to gather the right documents and keep them moving along in the application process.
Trust us, we know.
Contact Rx Solution today to get your application started so that you can acquire the prescription medications you need as quickly as possible and for as little as possible.