Expiry Date of Medicine (Family Physician)

Taranbir Singh., MBBS


Medical Case Details:

As doctors, we all know about the expiry date of medicines.

My question is if the date of expiry on a medicine is 31 Jan 217.... Will it be ineffective on 1 Feb 2017.... If not?....reasons ..... and does this applies to topical medicine as well.



    Dr. Geetha Priyadarsini Kamminana
    Internal Medicine Physician

    Hello ,

    There is no single explain action or rule to explain the safety and efficacy of the drug based on the expiry date.

    It depends on the packaging , stability , sensitivity to humidity , temperature.

    If the drug is absolutely necessary , the drug is safe probably , potency is compromised though. And this is in directly proportion to the time after the date of expiry.

    ▲ 1
    04.Feb, 07:33pm

    Dr. J. Mariano Anto Bruno Mascarenhas
    Neuro Surgeon

    //My question is if the date of expiry on a medicine is 31 Jan 217.... Will it be ineffective on 1 Feb 2017.... If not?....reasons ..... and does this applies to topical medicine as well. //

    It may be ineffective
    It may become toxic

    Applies to Topical Medicine as Well

    05.Feb, 12:51am

    Dr. Prabhakar Laxman Jathar

    Expiry date of medicines is an important indicator for maintaining its efficacy. However, Expiry Date (ED) is more critical with antibiotics (derived form micro organisms, and made in semisynthetic form) and vitamins (which are are very sensitive compounds). For most other synthetic chemicals like say Aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, metronidazole, albendazole etc.the ED is not that critical. As these compounds hardly loose their efficacy or potency. Antibiotics usually have an expiry of 18 months to 24 months from the date of synthesis. The process of manufacturing raw material then finished goods and reaching to the chemist counter itself may take away almost 6 months or longer. So most of these compounds have very short ED. Even with vitamins also it is the same case. Also with hormones and enzymes. But not so with other synthetic chemicals. They hardly loose their potency even after mentioned ED. If I am right, before 1970 most medications did not have an ED. Particularly the synthetic chemicals as mentioned above. Thanks.

    06.Feb, 01:00pm

    Dr. Akanksha Grace William

    Advising to use a drug beyound its expiry date can be a tricky affair if you are the prescribing physician.
    Expiry date indicates that the primary drug may no longer be potent or may lose its potency in an erratic manner. The primary chemical may even become harmful. One needs to take into account the stabilit of the solvents, storage conditions etc. So, there is really no way of telling how potent this particular drug will be on Feb 1, 2017 unless it is tested.
    I am attaching a few articles for your further reading but it would be nice if you can analyze for yourself if using the same drug is worth the risk? Or is it just cheaper and more convenient to buy a new batch.
    Also, in the rare event of any unwanted effect happening who will be responsible? (since the manufacture has given you a guideline with expiry date that was willfully ignored)
    1. Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates
    2. http://secure.medicalletter.org/w1483b

    If you have any more queries please don't hesitate to put it forward

    06.Feb, 02:46pm

    Dr. Akhtar Hussain
    Family Physician

    Pharma molecules (Chemical molecules) what ever it may be can expire and the period of expiry entirely depends upon the physical and chemical property of molecules, and pharmaceutical company takes better care for that, as long as the chemical molecules are concern and their expiry is concern this is applicable to all the molecules that presents in foods and fruits too, as after some time cooked foods becomes soar and bad even fruits too, and we are not eating them and if ever it is being eaten then it is obvious for the consequences, so better not to use the expiry medicine, once the medicines are expired means expired just throw it out, it is useless to talk about this. (Why we are insisting to drink the fresh ans safe water, can we drink the old water that is being kept in bottle for long time,, no,, because water is also chemical )

    06.Feb, 03:08pm

    Dr. Rajesh Deshwal
    HIV AIDS Specialist

    No sir...The drug will be as effective on 01 Feb 2017 as it was on 31 Jan 2017. The expiry date is for the benefit of the pharmaceutical companies so that the patient throws away the drug after a certain period and buys the the same drug again if need be, so that the business keeps flourising. Kindly don't be fool hardy in advising patients to throw away drugs on the date of expiry, if money is a concern for the patient. I hope better sense prevails and patients are educated about it, especially in resource poor countries. There was an article on expiry date of the drugs in one of the journals(don't remember which one now) which clearly put the onus on pharma industry and declared the drugs to be safe even after expiry date. But remember to follow storage guidelins about a particular drug.

    08.Feb, 10:25pm

    Dr. Andrew Chellakumar Fenn
    Radiation Oncologist

    Expiry date is a legal requirement as to the safety and efficacy of the drug. a pharma company is legally liable if the drug is not effective or produces unwanted side effects due to toxic by products which form on storage. a doctor is legally liable if he prescribes an expired drug knowingly. all this is relevant only if patient develops side effects, even if they are well known and accepted, the court will attribute it to expiry date and nothing else. the law is clear. most drugs are produced so that their safety and efficacy is maintained well beyond the expiry date, atleast for 3 to 6 months. But for laws sake, stay clear of expired medicines

    19.Mar, 08:59pm

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