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Tuesday, December 15, 2009 old lady, Community Member, asks

Q: Is it serious to take Nexium after its expiration date?

To make a long story very short, I realized many months after my doctor's prescription that I should be taking Nexium (again). I can't imagine why I neglected it except that I had dental and other problems going on. I suffer badly from GERD symptoms, am taking no other medications, and had no side effects when I did take Nexium for a short period of time. Can I use what I still have until I can get to a doctor to admit my mistake? Expiry dates June 2009 and August 2009. I have already taken one pill today.   

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Answers (1)
Stephanie, Health Guide
12/15/09 9:45pm

The biggest problem with taking medication that is past it's date is that you do not know if it is as effective. Eventually, all medications lose their potency. I once gave my son liquid Tylenol for a high fever. His fever did not go down. I then realized the Tylenol was 6 months past it's sell by. So, was his fever just that bad or was it that the Tyelnol was no longer effective? He did have a double ear infection and was working on getting pneumonia but again, giving him expired medicine didn't help me to know what was going on.


But, here's the flip side to this as well. Pharmacies put 1 year past the date of prescription on the bottle. If you were able to actually see the package it came in the sell by may be later than what they said. I first realized this with my husband's migraine medicine. It said one thing on the pharmacy label and the label on the package was 1.5 years later! Since he luckily doesn't need it all that often it was nice to be able to go by the packaging.


So, the short answer is that you just don't know if you are getting the medicine at it's best. And, of course, I have to say check with your doctor or pharmacist. But, the true test might just be "Are you feeling better?"



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By old lady, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/22/10, First Published: 12/15/09