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My vicodin expired in 2005. Can I still take it?

4 Answers

drmoe 28 July 2013

With a splitting headache you reach into your medicine cabinet for some aspirin only to find the stamped expiration date on the bottle has passed - two years ago. So, do you take it or don't you? If you decide to take the aspirin will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache? This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Pyschopharmacology Today offers some advice. It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in 1979, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can stillguaranteethefull potencyand safetyof thedrug. Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military.


With a largeand expensivestockpileof drugs, themilitaryfaced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date. So the expiration date doesn't really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use. Medical authorities stateexpired drugs are safe to take, even those that expired years ago. A rare exception to this may be tetracycline, but the report on this is controversial among researchers. It's true the effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even a decade after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications are as long-lasting as the ones tested by the military. Placing a medication in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years. Is the expiration date a marketing ploy by drug manufacturers, to keep you restocking your medicine cabinet and their pockets regularly? You can look at it that way. Or you can also look at it this way: The expiration dates are very conservative to ensure you get everything you paid for. And, really, if a drug manufacturer had to do expiration-date testing for longer periods it would slow their ability to bring you new and improved formulations. The next time you face the drug expiration date dilemma, consider what you've learned here. If the expiration date passed a few years ago and it's important that your drug is absolutely 100% effective, you might want to consider buying a new bottle. And if you have any questions about the safety or effectiveness of any drug, ask your pharmacist. He or she is a great resource when it comes to getting more information aboutyourmedications. TRY RESEARCHING THINGS INSTEAD OF CALLING PEOPLE RETARDS. THEN YOU ARE INFORMED INSTEAD OF, WELL A JERK.

Votes: +2
Livyloveyxox 19 Sep 2017

Yesssss hit em' with the facts

caringsonbj 24 Jan 2011

I have taken drugs that have expired butone thing to be aware of they may not be as potent as they were at one time, double check with the pharmacist but I don't believe from what the doctor has said that they will cause harm the worst you can end up with it is not working like it usually would

Votes: +0
arcanoidcyst16 24 Jan 2011

Dude if you take an expired medication your just flat out retarded.For some reason something is telling me.That you shouldn't even have that vicoden in the first place.Never take meds that have expired you put your self at risk and your life at risk.It's also from 2005 that's a way long time ago dude.Man some people just don't get it.DON'T TAKE IT!!!

golfdame 24 Jan 2011

I worked for a Podiatrist who was developing an anti-fungal medication and he said the exiration date reflected the amount of time the drug has been tested to be effective... not necessarily the exact time it looses it's effectiveness. I heard one time that aspirin becomes toxic after a certain period of time. That may be an old wives tale. Bottom line, before I read all your responses the pain was getting to me so I took 1/2 the old vicodin. I'm still alive and still in pain. It's lost all it's potency. Back to Ibuprophen... which is still in code. thanks to you all for your advice.

Cathleen186 24 Jan 2011

I would have to agree, I wouldn't take a med that old. ask your pharmacist if still unsure.

Votes: +1
caringsonbj 24 Jan 2011

he is assuming I told the person tto do it what I was saying I was told by the pharmacist that it would not likely do the job being it was an older medicaton I was under Insurance constraints, I offered him an answer I got from a pharmacist but did not encourage this person to use this medication

arcanoidcyst16 26 Jan 2011

Well i can only encourage you to not do something that goes against medical practices sir.That is all.I have NO real authority.What you do on your watch is on your watch.Thanks and have a wonderful afternoon.

arcanoidcyst16 26 Jan 2011

That is why i put the disclaimer.To let him or whoever is speaking know that if caringsonbj takes a medication and then dies.That it is at his own risk and that no way can he hold anyone responsible for what he does on this website.This is a support forum that is all.People have died on here before but we have no legal policys.So if he takes a pill and dies then he can't sue.It was on his time whether he be on the site or not we can not encourage somebody to do something that goes against federal and medical policys.Thank you sir and have a great day.

arcanoidcyst16 24 Jan 2011

No way!!! The pharmacys always tell people to never take a medication after the experation date.Due to the fact that over time.The drug loses it's strength in potency and therefore is considered ineffective."Disclaimer"-If you do take a drug that is expired you are taking it at your own risk.

It is considered unsafe and ineffective after the expiration date according to the FDA.-Federal Drug Administration

Votes: +3
caringsonbj 24 Jan 2011

Whatever you do please do not take expired medications of any kind shape form or fashion, this is unsafe and is the wrong thing to do

caringsonbj 24 Jan 2011

the reason that you were given the answer about using the Vicodin in the first place several years ago I had no Insurance and was having such severe pain and not able to see a doctor but just had some outdated pain medication on here, but prior to taking it I telephone my pharmacist and asked him if this would be something safe to do his reply was it would not harm me but most likely wouldn't have the desired effect, I want you to be sure not to take this medication I do not know your circumstances and therefore I would in no way put you at rish any shape form or fashion, please understand the reason I gave that answer was because I was mentally reminded of what happened to me but always check with a reputabile doctor and or pharmacist or this site before taking any expired medications since this is not a good idea at all

caringsonbj 24 Jan 2011

I must advise you for your well being that you must not take the Vicodin it has been such a long time and it might have an effect even more bothersome than just not being effective I care about every person on here and above all I want you to be safe so please do not take these

arcanoidcyst16 25 Jan 2011

Was just looking out for ya bro.You know that!!Have a wonderful afternoon.:)

caringsonbj 26 Jan 2011

Once again as a good friend would say I can only try and help you find the answer and to focus on it, No please do not do this, I at one time was placed in a situation to where I was attempted to take expired medication the thing that stopped me was fear, I was actually afraid that is was non-effective but that something that I might not forsee might go wrong, I can't tell you any straighter or try any harder but I implore you this is not in your best interest, It would be far better for you to talk with a doctor and get a new script than to take the route of maybe having a serious consequence, please take care and let us know that you are doing well and please do not end up using this

arcanoidcyst16 26 Jan 2011

I agree with that statement very strongly. free discount card

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