What Happens When You Take Expired Medicine

Medicines play an important role in maintaining and improving our health. 

But what happens if you take an expired drug? 

Because the safety and effectiveness of all medications can change over time, it is important that people understand the potential risks associated with using expired medications. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at the consequences of consuming expired drugs and the factors that contribute to their degradation.

Understanding Medication Expiration Dates

All medicines, whether prescription or non-prescription, are required by law to have an expiry date on the packaging.

This date marks the time when the manufacturer can no longer guarantee the drug’s safety and effectiveness. 

What happens if expired medicine is taken?
what happens when you take expired medicine

This data is based on extensive testing by pharmaceutical companies to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the drug over a period of time.

Decreased Potency

One of the main problems with expired drugs is reduced effectiveness. 

Over time, the active ingredients in the drug can break down, making it less effective. 

For example, taking expired antibiotics may not effectively fight the infection for which they were originally prescribed, which can lead to antibiotic resistance or long-term illness.

Reduced Efficacy

As the drug ages, its chemical composition can change, affecting its absorption and distribution in the body. 

This may cause the medicine not to work as intended. 

For example, taking an expired pain reliever may not relieve pain effectively, and an expired antihistamine may not relieve allergy symptoms.

Unpredictable Side Effects

Expired medications are not only less effective, but can also cause unpredictable side effects. 

When compounds break down, they can produce byproducts that have harmful effects on the body. 

This can cause side effects or worsen underlying health problems.

Increased Risk of Toxicity

In some cases, expired medications can be toxic. 

Altering active ingredients or introducing harmful byproducts can put your health at risk. 

The use of such drugs can cause serious side effects, including organ damage.

Factors Affecting Medication Degradation

The rate at which medications degrade depends on several factors:

Storage Conditions – Correct storage of medicines is essential to maintain their stability. 

Exposure to heat, light and moisture can accelerate the decomposition process. 

It is very important to store the medicine in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Medication Type – The expiration date of the drug varies depending on the type. 

Some drugs, such as antibiotics, may not be effective, while others, such as aspirin, remain effective long after the expiration date.

Packaging – The quality of the packaging plays an important role in preventing the ingress of air and moisture. 

Well-closed containers preserve the effects of the medicine.


Taking expired medicines can lead to serious consequences. 

Not all expired medications will harm you right away, but it’s not worth the risk if your health is at risk. 

It is important to respect expiration dates and dispose of expired medications properly. 

If you are not sure if your medicine is safe, ask your doctor or pharmacist. 

We can advise you if it is safe to use or if it should be replaced. 

If you take the medicine after the expiry date, your health will deteriorate.


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