Shelf Life Guidelines For Stored Drugs/medications

Discussion in 'First Aid and Medicine' started by GateCrasher, Aug 27, 2019.

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  1. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Dating back to 1985 the US Department of Defense and the Food and Drug Administration have a program for testing and recertifying drugs that have been in storage beyond their (manufacturer recommended) expiration dates, the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP). There's been many other studies done on individual drugs but this is probably the largest and is still ongoing. Occasionally some of the information is made public, but access to the complete information is restricted to those with a official need (apparently). Submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA for summaries of the test results, and you'll be told the cost to compile and complete the request will run in the 10's of thousands of dollars. Even a request for a single specific drug will run about a thousand. Not speculation either, I tried - although while I attempted to be precise and specific in the wording of the request to limit the amount of data (and the cost), maybe better wording would get results back at no cost. FOIA submission page here if anyone wants to try: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/foi/FOIRequest/requestform.cfm

    Anyway, thought we might use this thread as a repository of drug shelf life data that is publicly available, mainly for the purposes of awareness on which drugs can degrade into toxic substances and as guidelines on how often stored drugs would require replacement. The attached doc is an overview of the SLEP, and does include a couple of the drugs tested and the results. Maybe the most important section is this:

    So the test results should be considered the "best case, under the best conditions" and not necessarily for drugs obtained from a pharmacy (already taken out of it's original manufacturer packaging), stored in a standard pill bottle, and left in a hot/humid bathroom medicine cabinet.

    Add any info or documents you may have come across, and from research/studies as opposed to anecdotal information please.
     

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  2. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Additional information, with more drugs listed. If you read elsewhere that tetracycline or doxycycline wasn't a good antibiotic to store since they quickly turn toxic beyond their expiration date, you may want to read this.
     

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  3. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    A study done on 10 year old ampicillin, amoxicillin, and doxycycline capsules and tablets. All passed the USP tolerance test, that 90-120% of the drug strength/dosage was present when the tablet was dissolved. The testing here seems less comprehensive than the SLEP tests above, in that it didn't test for the presence of other degradation products and specifically says it's evidence only and not to be relied on in clinical use. But if the tablets still contained the expected amount of the drug, then that means the vast majority of the drug itself didn't degrade into something else (I think). Guess the only concern then would be the inactive ingredients (binders, fillers, the capsule container itself) and whether they degraded into something toxic, but seems unlikely drug manufacturers would use inactive ingredients that would do that. Had to zip this file as it was slightly over the allowed size for the forum.
     

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  4. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good afternoon Gate Crasher,

    A great theme for a thread ! This is - real - advanced prepping.

    Ref "add any info you may have...";

    Recently enough, I posted something here at MSF re the nation's Poison Control Centers. For "time is of the essence" emergencies, and not sure about some pharma packed in a pouch for a long time, the toll free number is worth calling for any phone guidance.
     
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  5. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    https://www.aapcc.org/

    For the thread.

    AAPCC = American Association of Poison Control Centers. This is the overall web site.

    Foot Note; If you're involved with animals eg service animal, emotional support animal, there's info for them also, somewhere.
     
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  6. Meerkat

    Meerkat Expert Member
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    So far we only take aspirin but do take BP med when BP is up a couple times a month it is the water pill type,HCTZ ? I think.
    Also store charcoal . We do need to get some antibiotics though.
    We store Epsom Salt for heart and muscle and other things it is good for.
     
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  7. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good afternoon Meerkat,

    Do ensure your stored medications are packed and ready to load in a quality pouch / bag in case you must evacuate your home.

    It might be unexpected when the tree visits the roof top, the wave is a surfer's dream, the fire, ... and the other perils.

    The medications are "priority one" along with water.
     
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  8. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Hi Pragmatist, I'd love to search the Poison Control Center's database for keywords like "old", "expired", and "outdated" to see what drugs might turn dangerous over time. Never tried calling them for information, might be worth a try. Outside the box thinking there, thanks.

    Hi Meerkat. Just so we (and everyone) is clear, I'm not a Dr, Nurse, or Pharmacist, and my career and formal education history doesn't include anything that is medical or medicine related. It'd be UNwise to trust anything I said without doing your own research or asking a Dr or Pharmacist. So if I don't say it, please add "I think" or "I read" before everything I state :)

    HCTZ is hydrochlorothiazide, and is listed in the Stability Profiles of Drug Products attachment above. At the time of that doc, they had tested 6 lots of hydrochlorothiazide with no failures, and the extension time of those lots was increased by a (mean/average) of 19 months beyond the manufacturer expiration date listed. See the attached doc in this post for another study I found on HCTZ, I have not read through it completely but their conclusion was that heat had little to do with it loosing potency over time, but that it was sensitive to moisture (and/or humidity) and recommended it be dispensed in foil/blister packs to keep moisture out, and that the initial expiration date be set at 24 months. IF your HCTZ is in blister packaging, then a very reasonable shelf life for them may be 19 months beyond the expiration date on the package. I'd think that for longer term, putting the blister packs (unopened) inside sealed zip lock bag(s) with a desiccant pack, and storing those in the refrigerator, might help extend that by keeping moisture from condensing through the blister packs during temperature changes while in storage.

    Aspirin does degrade over time, and while it's not toxic (as in truly poisonous), the degraded product can cause additional stomach upset over even normal aspirin, and it loses potency rather quickly compared to other drugs. 30-40 year old aspirin tested in a different study showed it degraded by 98%, meaning only 2% of aspirin remained. Mentioned in another thread that the enteric coated aspirins might be better for long term storage, as I Read that the coated tablets have more protection against moisture and air reaching the aspirin itself and should last longer in storage.
     

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  9. Meerkat

    Meerkat Expert Member
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    Thanks GateC was lots of good info.
    Maybe need to buy coated and put into Food Saver wrap in dark place. My HCTZ is not kept in good environment,so will do same for that med too.
     
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  10. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Just found this one, new as of Jan 2019. It rolls up the results of other drug extension studies and lists an overview of the results in alphabetical order by drug name. What it lacks in detail for each drug is more than made up for by having many drugs listed in one place.
     
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