Decluttering your medicine cabinet? Here's something I just learned today: You may want to hold onto medications, even after the expiration date has passed.
Johns Hopkins has an article on this topic, which starts with this:
Think of expiration dates - which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires be placed on most prescription and over-the-counter medications - as a very conservative guide to longevity. The expiration date is a guarantee from the manufacturer that a medication will remain chemically stable - and thus maintain its full potency and safety - prior to that date. Most medications, though, retain their potency well beyond the expiration date, and outdated medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, are not usually harmful.There are some important exceptions and some qualifiers - so please read the whole article (and the related one from the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide). And as Johns Hopkins notes: "If in doubt, consult a pharmacist." (Thanks to Deb in my local Freecycle group for the pointer to the Harvard Medical School article)
Oh, and that "medicine cabinet" might better be something other than the one built into the bathroom. To again quote Johns Hopkins:
The heat and humidity from showers and baths can cause medications to break down, lose potency, and, in rare cases, even become toxic. To keep your medications in the best condition, keep them in a dry area away from heat and light, such as a dresser drawer.Disclaimer: Obviously, I am not a doctor; I'm just passing along information I've read. So check with your own medical professionals!
[photo by Allie Verbovetskaya, licensed under Creative Commons]