Understanding drug expiration dates

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Expiration dates on your medication bottles are there for a reason. It’s very important information that should serve as a warning.

Using an expired drug is probably okay if you have a minor health issue such as a headache or sinus trouble. Many medicines, especially tablets and capsules, have a shelf life well beyond the date on the bottle, experts say.

Dr. Sharon Bergquist, of the Emory School of Medicine says, “the reality is that because these expiration dates are so conservative probably even 5 – 10 years from the time of the expiration date a person can try still using their product.”

But if your condition is serious, don’t chance it.

To help your meds stand the test of time, experts say to store them in a cool dry place away from sunlight and in their original containers.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42

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