Harold Dundee sent the following information.
The AARP Bulletin v.47, no. 4 (just arrived) carries an article about a
Florida pharmacist who says most prescription drugs are completely safe to use long after the stated expiration date. He says manufacturers set dates short so that they can make more sales. He has gotten the Florida
Legislature to tell the Florida Board of Pharmacy that it could no longer
require phamacists to use discard-after dates on prescription labels as it
had done since 1993.
The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that many drugs remain effective, often for many years after the stated expiration date. FDA does, however, warn against drugs stored in steamy bathrooms or hot cars. [I am aware of the recommendation that drugs be stored at temperatures below 76 degrees F. Accordingly, when I travel I keep my medications in a small styrofoan box with a bottle of ice in it so that the drugs will stay cool--HD]
I learned from my second wife who was a pharmacist that with aspirin, you can tell when it has aged beyond reliability. Sniff the bottle of aspirin. If it smells of acetic acid (vinegar smell) then it has lost much of it
Later Harold added this:
The recommendation is to keep drugs under 86 degrees F., not 76 as I
stated. Of course the cooler, usually the better.
One response that I had said, "When I have an expired medication I call
the pharmacist and he/she tells me if it can be used or not. I had some
things that were 10 years old and still good, just had to use a double dose because they weakened with time.