11. Proper Storage of Medications
Storage of medications is an important factor when it comes to prolonging shelf life. Medications should be kept in a cool dry area away from sunlight, heat, and humidity. The bathroom medicine cabinet seems like a handy place to keep your medications, but it is actually one of the worst places to store them. The high humidity from the shower can introduce moisture that breaks down medications more quickly. A better spot may be a bedroom closet, where temperatures stay steady and conditions are less humid.
One group of medications that requires caution regarding expiration dates is antibiotics. First of all, antibiotics are prescribed in quantities that are necessary for fully wiping out a bacterial infection. Therefore, the complete quantity should be consumed as prescribed, leaving no leftover medication. The use of leftover antibiotics contains its own set of problems, as the medication may not be the proper antibiotic for a particular condition. That issue aside, some antibiotics are no longer safe or effective past their expiration date. One example is tetracycline, which may become harmful as it degrades over time. Liquid antibiotic suspensions also must be discarded once they have expired.
9. Birth Control Pills
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications retain at least 70-80% of their potency after their expiration dates. A pain medication that is 70% effective may still soothe your headache. However, you might not feel as confident taking a birth control pill that is only 70% effective. For medications like birth control pills, which require full potency, be aware of the expiration date and discard any unused medication after that date.Related: 10 Pain Medication Secrets Your Doctor May Not Tell You