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Erin Tolbert's Tips on Medicine Expiration Dates

Tablets & Capsules: the most stable formulation of medications w/ tablets lasting longest; after a few years, strength may decrease slightly – it’s OK if Tylenol or Aspirin is a little weaker, probably still safe to take

Liquid or refrigerated medications: shouldn’t be used past expiration date – storage is important, follow directions!

Eye Drops: may contain preservatives & may be unsafe past expiration because of bacterial growth

EpiPens: should not be used after expiration as epinephrine has been shown to lose its potency & these are used in life-threatening situations like anaphylaxis

Inhalers: tend to sit in people's homes & expire; but after about a year chemicals break down & lose efficacy

Ointments and creams: Generally, these keep well but once it appears crystalized or it crusts, toss it

Sunscreen: designed to keep potency for about 3 yrs; after this they may become ineffective so throw them away – also, if exposed to high temperatures or has obvious changes in color or consistency, it has gone bad

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