Manufacturers guarantee their drugs will be safe and fully effective up until the expiration date, which is usually 1-5 years after the drug is produced.However, many medical experts agree that medicines like tablets and capsules that treat headaches or sinus trouble have a shelf life well beyond the date on the bottle. "The reality is that because these expiration dates are so conservative, probably even 5-10 years from the time of the expiration date, a person can try still using their product," said Dr. Sharon Bergquist of the Emory School of Medicine. However, there are certain medicines like nitroglycerin, insulin vaccines and antibiotics that should not be used beyond the expiration date, often because they treat chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
Some meds OK to take past expiration date, experts say
April 8, 2014