Excluding certain prescription medicines such as nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medicines stored under reasonable conditions retain at least 70% to 80% of their original potency for at least 1 to 2 years after the expiration date, even after the container has been opened.So, if you have a headache one night, and you reach for your bottle of ibuprofen and find that it expired last year, chances are high that the medicine still has retained most of its potency.This includes moving a medication to a different container, which is the normal practice for pharmacies dispensing prescriptions.Due to the potential changes in conditions when a prescription is filled, the US Pharmacopeia, which is the official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States, recommends the practice of beyond-use dates for prescriptions.So if a drug is made in May 2000 and the company has conducted testing that the drug will remain safe and potent for two years, the expiration date is May 2002.The rule applies to both nonprescription drugs and prescription drugs.
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A beyond-use date is a date placed on a prescription by a pharmacy noting when that prescription should no longer be used.Will it cause harm or just not work after its expiration date?Neither fully explains what the expiration date means.This content has not been reviewed within the past year and may not represent Web MD's most up-to-date information.
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" April 21, 2000 (Washington) -- You really do need to take expiration dates on drugs seriously. Because drugs can become unsafe or lose potency over time, and the expiration date is as long as the drug company wants to claim its drug will be safe and have the correct potency.