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AP News: Pill expiration dates can have wiggle room if stored right

By Linda A. Johnson

Just how firm are expiration dates on bottles of allergy or pain pills? Probably not as crucial as the “Best By” date on milk cartons.

Medicines are expensive, and amid occasional shortages, some people are tempted to use expired pills.

After all, a pill good till May 31 can’t be useless on June 1. The expiration date, typically just one or two years after manufacture, simply shows how long the maker tested the drug’s stability by exposing it to extreme temperatures, humidity and light. Drugmakers propose the expiration period when they seek approval from regulators to sell it.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against using expired drugs, warning they may not work as intended or may be harmful, especially for people with serious ailments.

Yet many people, including doctors, use medicines well after expiration.

“I think everybody does,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, a toxicology expert at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

Read the full article via AP News.

Learn more about the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation at Children's Mercy.