It happens with most people, you take out the medicine from your medicine box and notice that its expiration date has passed. At that time you may have some questions hitting your head, can I still take this medication if it has crossed the drug expiration date? What will happen if I take this medicine? Which drugs should not be used after their expiration dates?
These questions are most common when the medications are expensive but hardly used or unused. So here we are going to discuss about Acyclovir expiration date and you will get answers to all such questions regarding expired medications.
What is Acyclovir
Acyclovir is an antiviral drug commonly used to treat Herpes Simplex Virus infection, genital herpes, cold sores, shingles, and chicken pox. It acts by stopping the growth and expansion of the herpes virus. Acyclovir is not a complete cure for genital herpes or herpes simplex, it only reduces symptoms, blisters, and pain and boosts the healing process.
Acyclovir is accessible in the form of buccal tablets, suspension, and capsules. It is also available in form of ointment and cream for external use. Notably, Acyclovir is a prescription drug and may also be prescribed for certain conditions.
Do Acyclovir Drug Expiration Dates Exist?
Acyclovir has a labeled expiration date available on the pack or medication bottle. The original potency of Acyclovir medicine starts declining from the date of manufacture. The potency and efficacy of medications past the expiration date depend on several factors such as drug manufacturers, packaging and storage, etc.
When do medicines expire
Most medications come with expiry dates mentioned on the medication bottle or pack. The expiry date of drugs means something, that you should consider. The expiration of a drug is the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the complete safety and potency of the drug.
The drug expiration date is mentioned on most medication packs including over-the-counter drugs, prescription medicines, and dietary supplements. However, some studies demonstrate that many drugs are still safe and effective to use past their expiration.
How long do the drugs last past the expiration date?
As per the research, most medications are likely to be safe and active after the expiry date. In fact, a study by American Medical Association discovered that 90% of over 100 drugs including both prescription and over-the-counter, were flawlessly good to use even after 15 years of drug expiration dates.
However, not all drugs last after the expiry date. For case, if your bathroom and medicine cabinet is full of old antibiotics and you end up taking them even after the expiry date of the drugs, they may not work effectively and may not be able to treat the infection as well.
Moreover, proper storage of medicines may help extend their potency. Keeping your medicines anywhere in the house or the medicine cabinet is not the right place to store medications because of humidity and heat. Also, medications should not be left or kept in a hot car.
A drug remain potent and most stable in cool places and away from light. So make sure you store the drug in a dry, cool place and close the prescription bottle caps tightly. Always place the medications out of the reach of pets and children.
Some medications that become toxic past the expiration date
Most drugs become ineffective after the expiration date however several medications become extremely toxic and harmful after the expiration date and are not at all safe to use. These drugs include insulin, tetracycline, nitroglycerin, medicated eye drops, and liquid oral antibiotics.
For these medications, it is highly important to stick to the pharmaceutical expiration dates available on certain drugs. Although intact tablets or capsules are generally safe to take, it is not the same case for certain liquid medications.
Many expired drugs in solution form or which need refrigeration may not be able to effectively treat the condition after the expiration date. Check with a reliable healthcare professional before you use any expired medicine.
Is it safe to take Acyclovir after the expiration date?
No, it is not safe to use expired medications. Once the expiration date of the drug has passed there is no guarantee that it will be safe and effective. The expiration date of medicines is chosen somewhat subjectively and necessarily does not represent when the drug loses potency or can be dangerous to use. Instead, it represents when medications are no longer guaranteed by law and drug manufacturers.
Risks of using Acyclovir expired medicine
Essentially there are two risks associated with expired Acyclovir or Valacyclovir. The first is most common problem is that the medication may be lost its potency. The second is much rarer, the expired medication may become harmful over time.
You are not likely to be extremely harmed by using expired Acyclovir but the medicine may lose its potency over time. It is not a good idea to use Acyclovir or any other medication past expiration dates. Make sure you talk to your doctor.
Do medications lose their full potency after the expiration date?
With an expensive stockpile of medicines, the military faced tossing out and replacing its medications every few years. In order to know that some drugs can last past their expiration date, FDA conducted the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) for the Department of Defense.
The purpose of this program was to uncover the actual shelf life of a large and expensive stockpile for future use and to save government expenses.
In the SLEP program over 3000 lots denoting 122 different drugs were evaluated. The physical appearance, presence of impurities, dissolution, water content, pH, and potency was accessed thoroughly during the study.
Depending on stability data, 88% of the lots’ expiration dates were extended beyond expiration dates for around 66 months. Out of these around 12% more lots remained perfectly good to use for at least 4 years past the expiration date and out of the remaining lots, just 18% ceased due to failure.
In June 2020, Food and Drug Administration specified that it is possible to extend expiration dates for certain stockpiled influenza antivirals including Tamiflu 75 mg (for 15 years) and Relenza (for 10 years) when stored under labeled conditions.
The testing reported in The Medical Letter revealed that many medications that expired years ago were still potent. The results from the study conducted, suggest that most drugs may have extended shelf life beyond their expiration date.
Excluding nitroglycerin, liquid antibiotics, and insulin most medications are long-lasting as tested by the military. Placing drugs in a cool place helps them remain potent for several years.
The ability of most drugs to have an extended shelf life depends on the active ingredient, presence of preservatives, light, temperature fluctuations, humidity, and other storage conditions. Also, the drugs assessed in the SLEP program were stored in their original packaging.
Once the medication is repackaged into another bottle or container, as often happens in the pharmacy, the shelf life may decline because of environmental variations.
Expired medications can be perilous
Expired medicines are less effective and risky because of changes in composition and a decrease in strength. Certain expired medicines hold the chances of bacterial growth and sub-potent antibiotics may fail to cure the infections causing antibiotic resistance and serious illness.
According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), many people have no idea how to clean their medicine cabinet correctly. As people fail to dispose of old medications safely particularly opioids, dangerous drugs end up in the wrong hands.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 50,000 young children end up in emergencies each year because they got their hands on unsafe or expired medicines. Once the medicine has expired there is no guarantee that it will be safe and effective so it’s better not to use expired medical products.
You can check the medication labels as most medications have disposal instructions. You can also take advantage of the drug take-back program if possible. Certain drugs are particularly recommended for flushing down a sink a toilet as they could be extremely harmful or fatal to a pet, child, or anybody if taken accidentally.
Drugs in solution form such as injectable medications should be discarded in case the product looks discolored or cloudy. Liquid antibiotics or topical solutions may undergo evaporation of solvents over time.
Expired medicines containing preservatives such as eye drops may be strictly unsafe past the expiration date. outdated preservatives may allow bacterial growth in the solution.
The effectiveness of a drug may reduce over time, however much of the original potency remain even years after the expiration date. It is always best to take the safest route, especially when it comes to medicines. Avoid using expired medicines, get new and safely discard the old drugs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about expired drugs for the best advice