Oxycodone after expiration date?
January 14, 2007 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to take a pill after it's expiration date?

My girlfriend is feeling like crap and I want to know if it's okay for her to take this painkiller she has. It is Oxycodone W/APAP 5/325. The expiration date was 12/3/2005, 2 years ago. Do pills really "go bad"?
posted by lazaruslong to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
Tetracyclines and condoms are the two things I'm aware of that should never be used past their expiration date. Other than that I think your biggest danger is less efficacy. Others may have specifics; I'll leave that to them.

Some info worth pondering.
posted by rolypolyman at 1:15 PM on January 14, 2007

It's most likely safe but may have lost some of its effectiveness. If it was stored at the right temperatures and in an airtight container it's probably still fairly good.
posted by Octoparrot at 1:25 PM on January 14, 2007

Of course, normal IANAD and IANAP (Pharmacist) disclaimer so of course take it with a grain of salt.
posted by Octoparrot at 1:25 PM on January 14, 2007

The "real" expiration date for the oxycodone is likely later than 12/05. That's just a year after the prescription was filled, by which time they presume that you've either taken it or disposed of it. And like RPM said, the only likely problem even if it is expired is that it might lose effectiveness.
posted by neckro23 at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2007

Safety aside, oxycodone is an addictive narcotic, also known popularly as OxyContin or Oxy's. Improper dosage can cause respiratory failure and death.

You really sure you want her to start taking a powerful narcotic, if she doesn't appear to have a compelling medical reason to take it, other than "feeling like crap"?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2007

Personal anecdote: I have taken a Percocet pill a year or two after its expiration date; nothing terrible happened, but it didn't relieve any pain as though it has lost its potency.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2007

No, its not 'okay'. If a doctor did not prescribe it, its not ok. These things are not candy, they are regulated for a reason.
Oxycodone is highly addictive and especailly so when taken for wrong medical reason.
posted by Osmanthus at 1:31 PM on January 14, 2007

Thank you for the responses.

Let me clarify that the pill is hers, as prescribed by a doctor, albeit a long time ago. Also, it is the only pill left, so the addiction concern, while good advice, is not applicable here (additionally, she is not the type of person to get addicted to pills. She doesn't get off on getting "high").

After reading the linked articles, it seems like the only concern here is loss of potency. I'll let her read the comments and articles and make her own decision. If she takes it, I'll post here if it was effective or not, so that perhaps others with a similar question later down the line can reference this thread.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:35 PM on January 14, 2007

Blazecock, just to be clear, I don't want her or not want her to do anything. It's her decision, she just asked me if I knew whether or not it was safe to do so, and after checking erowid and google I couldn't come up with any sort of answer, so I asked here.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:37 PM on January 14, 2007

Your question was "is it safe...".

The answer is "yes, though it may have lost some or all of its potency."
posted by Ynoxas at 1:44 PM on January 14, 2007

Thanks, Ynoxas. That's precisely what I needed to know.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:45 PM on January 14, 2007

I'm not making a moral judgement on you, just hoping you think this through a bit more carefully, than simply reading on the Internet from questionable sources (including the ones in this thread).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:51 PM on January 14, 2007

questionable sources (including the ones in this thread).

Funny, I haven't commented yet. But here you go: I have taken similar (vicodin) medications many years past exp. date. I am still among the living, though somewhat addicted to the things now. In short, I agree with the Ynoxas from personal experience.
posted by IronLizard at 2:57 PM on January 14, 2007

That's precisely what I needed to know.

Don't take narcotics unless your doctor has told you to take them currently. I think that's really what you needed to know.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:12 PM on January 14, 2007

Curiously, I had the same question a few days ago and thought of putting it up on Metafilter.
I was feeling unusually achy and feverish and the only painkillers I had on hand -sure all I was after was aspirin - were some Tylenol 3s that were so old that they'd turned a kind of beige; their best-by date I have no idea as the label had worn off the prescription bottle, through years of being carted from country to country. I can't remember why they might have been prescribed for me.
But, I took a couple and they worked just like they're supposed to, and I felt fiiine.
posted by Flashman at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2007

Jesus, Oxy, Percocet, and Vicodin are not going to suck you into a raging addiction with one freaking pill, or likely even 6 a day for a week, unless you're very easily addicted to things, although that high dosage for a week could result in slight withdrawl symptoms. Ignore the "sky are falling" people. Given that she's taken them in the past, it's unlikely there will be any significant side effects, but it may do absolutely nothing more than a tylenol, being 2 years expired.

Percocet certainly loses potency after that period of time.

On dosage, my g/f was prescribed Percocet 5/235 (5mg of opiate, 325mg of APAP) with a dosage of 1-2 every 6 hours with no more than 6 every 24 after having her wisdom teeth extracted. They hardly did anything for her, and after a few hours, we called the oral surgeon, he told her to take 3 and call him if they still didn't do anything, and they finally did something.

Personally, one will make me feel pretty good, but people are effected differently by opiates, some need more, some need less. Presumably she has an idea of how it will effect her, since she has taken them in the past.

If it was OxyContin, you should be more careful, as they are time release, so it's much easier to get confused as to the amount flowing around your system at any given time.
posted by wierdo at 3:43 PM on January 14, 2007

Plus, 12/05 was only one year ago, not two...
posted by thejoshu at 5:27 PM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

safe? - yes
efficacious - depends

oxycodone, even one year after expiration probably retains most of its efficacy. Since it won't hurt you, why not take it? Since your q was five hours ago, I hope she already did and is feeling better.
posted by caddis at 6:35 PM on January 14, 2007

Be sure to take a whiff of Armour Thyroid before you use it. Sometimes when it's expired (and sometimes even before) it can be.....amazing.
posted by neuron at 9:52 PM on January 14, 2007

"Your question was "is it safe...".

The answer is "yes, though it may have lost some or all of its potency.""

agreed for the nth time.

my grandfather was the chemist who invented percocet and he's said time and again, that other than a few exceptions, medication will never become unsafe, it just loses its effecy over time.
posted by teishu at 10:19 PM on January 14, 2007

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