Expiration? Drugs May Last Longer Than You Think

A senior woman reaching into her medicine cabinet for a prescription bottle
Do you still have old prescriptions in your medicine cabinet?

Chances are, you’re one of many Americans who don’t have to heart to toss out expired pain relievers, cough syrup or sleeping pills. But you can’t seem to throw them away because you suspect they might still be okay to take. Well, according to recent studies, some medications are still potent after 50 years—so maybe you shouldn’t!

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A new analysis of eight prescription drugs that have well-surpassed their discard date, some by as much as 40 years, has found that these drugs are just as potent as the day they were manufactured.

Researchers California Poison Control System, UC San Francisco, and UC Irvine tested  the effectiveness of eight drugs that had been sitting around, unopened, in pharmacies for years after they had supposedly gone bad.