Can I still take expired medications?

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Expired medications should never be taken without consultation, explains the president of the Carinthian Chamber of Pharmacists, Hans Bachitsch: “In any case, you should clarify this with a doctor or a pharmacist.” Although not all medications lose their shelf life immediately with the expiration date, this is difficult to assess for laypersons: “There are preparations that can still be taken for about two months after that. But you can’t generalize because it depends entirely on the drug. Therefore, one should not decide without advice whether a preparation is still used,” says Gerhard Kobinger, president of the Styrian Chamber of Pharmacists.

How well a medicine keeps also depends significantly on how it is stored. The room temperature is often too warm for the medication: “It should not be more than 25 degrees,” says Bachitsch. But how do you store medicines properly? The best place is a dark room with a stable temperature, such as a storeroom. The kitchen or bathroom is unsuitable, as humidity and temperature often fluctuate. If you have small children at home, you must also ensure that the storage space is not accessible to the youngest ones.

Dispose of properly
In most cases, it is also unnecessary to fall back on expired medicines; he said: “If, for example, the headache medicine that you always take is just not available, you can fall back on many other preparations.” And the fact that a permanent medication is not available and at the same time cannot be replaced by any other alternative preparation is improbable, he says.

And: No matter whether ointment, juice or pill: preparations that are sorted out must under no circumstances end up in the residual waste. If you want to dispose of medicines, you have two options: Take them to the hazardous waste collection point at the landfill site or hand them in at the pharmacy. The small boxes should be removed beforehand – but the tablets do not have to be pressed out of the blister. The return of old medicines to the pharmacy is free of charge. And: You should also pay attention to the expiration date of bandages: After a specific time, sterility is no longer guaranteed.

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