Expiration day (Use Before) means the last day a product may be safely consumed. We are the most expensive and wasteful healthcare system in the world according to many, and rest assured throwing away drugs because of past expiration dates contributes.
In fact, “expired” medicines can remain potent decades after their manufacture. In theory, a determined shelf life might be 1-5 years but all bets are off once a container is opened, the picture changes and no one knows precisely the ‘new’ expiration date.
Lawyers for big pharma say proceed at your own risk however there have not been any reports of toxicity from using expired drugs. Yes, perhaps your blood pressure might not come down if it is 5 years old and not stored properly.
Reviewing the medical literature I found a study, showing the active contents of flucloxacillin capsules, cefoxitin injection, captopril tablets, and theophylline tablets remained 98% intact 18-170 months past their expiration dates. Wow!
I want to touch on the phrase ‘best used by‘ as it DOES NOT mean ‘expiration date’. The date informs the consumer that after that date the product potency, taste, freshness, and even nutrition may degrade.