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Research Finds Drugs Potency Surpass Expiration Dates reports Online Pharmacy

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(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 28, 2012 ) San Francisco, CA- Medications are apparently just fine years after their supposed expiration dates pass. Many individuals likely own pain relievers, cough syrups, and sleeping pills that were purchased more than five years ago, and that could still be as potent as needed.

For anyone who has wondered whether or not their medicines really still pack the punch one requires, the California Poison Control System, UC San Francisco, and UC Irvine decided to look into that very issue.

Researchers from both institutes attempted to discover whether or not the effectiveness of eight drugs were still useful long after their expiration dates.

The medications chosen were 28 to 40 years past their official expiration dates. This timeline made sure that the drugs potency was truly put to the test.

15 active ingredients were present in the eight drugs. Researchers could not find potency information for homatropine, which was present in certain drugs. Thus, they analyzed the remaining 14 components.

Tablets and capsules were dissolved and given chemical analysis using a mass spectrometer, which revealed what level of active ingredients remained in each pill or capsule.

Out of the analyzed ingredients, 12 were at suitable concentration to qualify to be potent. The pills that passed the test included Acetaminophen (pain reliever in Tylenol), Codeine (opiate for pain and coughs), Hydrocodone (opiate for moderate pain), Phenacetin (analgesic), caffeine, as well as Chlorpheniramine (antihistamine). Barbiturates and tranquilizers also passed the test as Pentobarbital (barbiturate), Butalbital (barbiturate), Secobarbital (barbiturate), and Meprobamate (tranquilizer) passed the test. Methaqualone, a muscle relaxant, also passed.

Most medications have an expiration within a half-decade after manufacturing. Those dates, however, tend to be set arbitrarily, since the FDA does not require testing for the potency length for most drugs.

The research team was able to come to a rather obvious conclusion as they stated, Results support the effectiveness of broadly extending expiration dates for many drugs.

The most important implication of our study involves the potential cost savings resulting from lengthier product expiration dating, they added. Given that Americans currently spend more than $300 billion annually on prescription medications, extending drug expiration dates could yield enormous health care expenditure savings.
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