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Expired NyQuil?
January 16, 2006 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Expired NyQuil: bad for you?

from Vicks' website:
Is it okay to use after the expiration date?
No. We cannot recommend using an expired product. There is an expiration date on the package. Expiration dating is based on a number of factors. After the expiration date, the integrity of the product cannot be guaranteed. We recommend discarding the expired product and replacing it.
But, you know, I have a huge box (40 liquigels), expired last summer. Seems like a waste of money. Any chemical-savvy MeFites?
posted by PenguinBukkake to Science & Nature (16 answers total)
 
Googling a bit I found this:
Data from the Department of Defense/US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Shelf Life Extension Program, which tests the stability of drug products past their expiration date, showed 84% of 1122 lots of 96 different drug products stored in military facilities in their unopened original container would be expected to remain stable for an average of 57 months after their original expiration date.[25] Some US Army studies on Valium, for example, show that the drug is very stable and completely safe and effective for up to 8 years after manufacture. Tablets of ciprofloxacin, an expensive antibiotic, were found completely safe and effective when tested 9.5 years after the expiration date.
Does it make sense?
Would expired NyQuil be less effective / toxic / none of the above?

thanks
posted by PenguinBukkake at 4:39 PM on January 16, 2006


If they were stored it in a cool, dark, dry place I wouldn't hesitate to use them this season. If they were stored in a place that was one of warm, damp, or exposed to sunlight, I'd be somewhat wary. Most bathroom medicine cabinets lose on at least one of those fronts. I take this from a "news" report that I saw years ago that had one of those typical grabbers ("Could what's in your medecine cabinet kill you?") followed by a report which was reasonable--effectively, the dates are chosen for typical storage and should be honored. Ideal storage is cool, dark, dry and will contribute to the longevity of the product.

Of course the manufacturer will say "don't take it". That's complete CYA. If they said otherwise, they'd have lawsuits out the wazoo.
posted by plinth at 4:40 PM on January 16, 2006


cool, dark, dry place

they're in their original box, in my medicine cabinet. pretty cool, dark, dry, yes.

If they said otherwise, they'd have lawsuits out the wazoo.

I guess that if it were toxic, they'd have to state it clearly. instead they basically say, "buy a new one". it's different. but I flunked chemistry, see.
posted by PenguinBukkake at 4:42 PM on January 16, 2006


[Penguins get a lot of colds]
posted by PenguinBukkake at 4:44 PM on January 16, 2006


Yes. Old Nyquil is fine. I have to bring it back to Hungary when I travel (rarely!) to the US - it is one of the only western medicines that my Japanese GF will use. We have never had a bad experience with a good vintage Nyquil. I suggest a 2002 Bergen County Red, or the 2001 Manhatten Green for a good bottle. In fact, generic CBS or Duane Eddy makes a fine Nyquil, with a decidely fruity bouquet that can sit for years and still cure the sniffles.

My sources are drying up though, at least in Oregon. My buddy - a Rabbi who sings in my band - told me that because it is used in making drugs like meth he can't buy six bottles of it at once anymore! What am I going to do when the bird flu strikes?
posted by zaelic at 4:49 PM on January 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


This may be sort of a non-answer, but here goes... Drug companies must put each of their products through "stability studies", which show that the integrity of their product remains stable during the duration of the shelf-life of the product. Sometimes, drugs change slightly during aging, sometimes drug companies only want the stability studies to last for a certain length of time because they want to put their product on the market more quickly. With components as stable as those in Ny-Quil, I wouldn't hesitate to take it. There is a chance that some of the active ingrediants have degraded and it won't be as effective, but it won't harm you.

IANAD, I work for a pharmaceutical company with much more sensitive ingredients. I have no knowledge of stability studies associated with Ny-Quil.
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:54 PM on January 16, 2006


I have faced this issue myself. When one is ill and needs NyQuil and is faced with the prospect of waking your sleeping son so you can drive down the the CVS, one takes the expired drug.

I had no problems and felt loads better the next day.
posted by DragonBoy at 5:14 PM on January 16, 2006


I've been taking expired NyQuil for the cold that's been lingering since the start of the year, and I'm still here.

*knocks wood*
posted by languagehat at 5:22 PM on January 16, 2006


I don't think the question is whether it is safe, but whether it is effective. Yeah I'd take it.
posted by geoff. at 5:44 PM on January 16, 2006


Although I doubt it is harmless, in the event that did not hold true, perhaps the drug company could assert as an affirmative defense that the drug was expired to combat any potential liability. Just something to think about, although unlikely.
posted by orangeshoe at 7:01 PM on January 16, 2006


Although I doubt it is harmless

Sorry, I meant: "Although I doubt it is harmful..."
posted by orangeshoe at 7:02 PM on January 16, 2006


I have to disagree with the premise that penguins themselves get a lot of colds.

I don't think it's a question of the NyQuil actually killing you here, but its efficacy might be significantly reduced, perhaps.
And then maybe you'd take more... and then more... and then maybe that would kill you.
posted by disillusioned at 7:04 PM on January 16, 2006


Generally speaking, medications do not turn harmful after their expiration date (and any that do would have clear warnings to that effect). No, the worst that will happen is they will lose potency.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:14 PM on January 16, 2006


Just finished off a bottle of no-name Nyquil knock-off that I've had since 2002. Haven't gone blind yet.
posted by todbot at 9:19 PM on January 16, 2006


I say take it now and worry about the consequences later. fuck it.
posted by deeman at 9:31 PM on January 16, 2006



I have to disagree with the premise that penguins themselves get a lot of colds.

well,

posted by PenguinBukkake at 3:25 AM on January 17, 2006


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