Expired Meds

Your fridge isn't the only place you should be checking for "use-by dates."

Just take a look through your medicine cabinet and you'll probably find expired drugs.

Meredith land finds out just how harmful these meds can be.

Stacie Blazek’s medicine cabinet is stocked and ready for whatever ails her two kids.

Stacie Blazek, Mother of Two said, "I assume that the medications are safe, I don't check the expiration dates and now I know that I need to check my medicine cabinet periodically to update things."

How updated is her medicine cabinet?

We sent Baylor pharmacist Kristen Hesch --- to find out.

There were allergy medications and cough syrups.

"We're always coughing at night and I'm afraid to throw away any cough syrup out, but this one apparently also expired,” said Blazek

"This actually expired in October 2006."

"Here is some Advil. This has got to be ok. No, 9-08. No, not okay."

"The hydrocortisone cream that lasts forever. Does it expire?"

"It does, all drugs have an expiration date set by the manufacturer. This one says it expired in 8-01."

"Are you kidding? 8-01?"

The big concern, say pharmacists – is prescription bottles. Drugs like Tetracycline and Doxycycline can actually be toxic.

Pharmacist, Kristen Hesch, said, "So it's a use at your own risk beyond that date."

Even supplements have expiration dates.

"If it's so old, the expiration date has rubbed off; it's probably a good idea to throw it away too."

"The amount of medicines people keep for longer than they should, longer than the expiration date is just phenomenal, especially with the larger size packages that we sell in the supermarkets now,” said Hesch.

Stacie says she learned the lesson the easy way.

Blazek said, “I’ve cleaned out all the creams, allergy medications, the flu medicines, the cough medicines, so hopefully we'll all be safe."

The pharmacist says generic drugs typically have a longer shelf life than name brands drugs.

That's prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications.


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