Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2008 sniklefritz, Community Member, asks

Q: I have a prescription for acetamin, but it is 3 years old, is it still good?

I have had problems with back and neck pain for some time and it has really been giving me trouble for the last couple of weeks. I still have some Acetomin # 3 from before, but need to make sure it is still ok to take.

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Answers (4)
Cort, Health Guide
12/22/08 1:07am

Its funny how these questions run in bunches as we just got a similar one. 


According to the Harvard Medical School most prescriptions are still potent long past their expiration date - which is typically 2 to 3 years. It may be somewhat less potent or it could just as potent as it ever was. The expiration date does not indicate that a drug is no longer good - it simply indicates a date at which a drug manufacturer guarantees that it is good. A large Air Force study in conjunction with the FDA concluded that most drugs are good long past their expiration dates and they use them past their expiration dates.

According to Johns Hopkins, "If your medications have been stored under good conditions, (ie. not in hot or humid conditions) they should retain all or much of their potency for at least one to two years following their expiration date, even after the container is opened. But you should discard any pills that have become discolored, turned powdery, or smell strong; any liquids that appear cloudy or filmy; or any tubes of cream that are hardened or cracked. To help maintain potency, store your medications in a closet or cabinet located in a cool, dry room. Also, don't mix medications in one container: chemicals from different medications can interact to interfere with potency or cause harmful side effects. If two or more medications have been mingled for any period of time, discard them. A few medications, like insulin and some liquid antibiotics, do degrade quickly and should be used by the expiration date. Also, consider replacing any outdated medications that you're taking for a serious health problem, since its potency is more critical than that of an over-the-counter drug you take for a headache or hay fever. If in doubt, consult a pharmacist."


If you really want to make your pills (but not your liquid meds) last throw them in the freezer - they'll apparently last almost forever there. For more on freezing your drugs read:

Swamy, Community Member
12/25/08 8:45am

Pl. look at the expiry date and if that is not available, better buy a new bottle or strip. If I am not mistaken, Acetamin (acetaminophen or paracetamol) is an OTC drug and does not require a prescription, but local laws are different in different parts of the world. 


Best wishes.




twinsgram, Community Member
12/26/08 2:59am

No, in most states, any prescription is only good for one year.  A prescription containing a narcotic is good for six months. 

Melleedawn, Community Member
12/26/08 4:08am

The reason for exacerbation of pain is more concerning than the expiration of the meds. If you have a pain that has not needed Tylenol(acetaminophen)#3 for 3 years and now has become uncomfortable enough to need narcotic pain medications, The reason might need to be investigated by a MD. If you are asking about wether the prescription(written or refills are still good, They are not. If you are talking about an actual bottle of pills, They should have an expiration date on them.

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By sniklefritz, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/15/14, First Published: 12/21/08