dscougar asked in HealthOther - Health · 1 decade ago

What happens when pain killers expire?

I've got all these expired over the counter drugs lying around (naproxen, ibuprofin, aspirin, and some nasal decongestants like loratadine) and I'm wondering what happens after they expire. Do they just lose potency? Or do they somehow become more dangerous?

If they just use potency, I'd prefer to keep them since I usually only take half doses when I need something anyhow. Either way, though, I'd hate to throw them out- goodness knows we don't need any more chemicals getting into the water.

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  • Kris B
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Usually, OTC meds just become less effective after they've expired, rather than becoming dangerous.

    If you do discard them, you should drop them off to your local hazardous waste drop off point. The old standby of flushing them down the toilet is no longer recommended for the reason you state, and even throwing them in the garbage can will eventually result in them seeping into groundwater.

    Check with your waste management department for where to drop off.

    Best of luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    Various things happen depending on the drug, the age, how the meds were stored etc.

    loss of potentency

    toxic reaction to chemical changes

    absolutly nothing (if you are lucky)

    mold developing on meds

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