Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shelf life of meds.... ?

Back in 2008 I was injured. It might have been the time I tried to cut my finger tip off, but I'm not sure. I honestly don't recall.

The thing is, the doc scripted Vicodin, and said I was going to need it.

I didn't. I'm not a fan of heavy pain killers that leave me wobbly, and it's very seldom indeed I'll take anything like that. All depends on the injury I guess, since I certainly took a few days worth of Percocets when I tried to gut my hand with a sawzall.

Anywho.... I have this bottle of Vicodin that's been sitting in my safe since 2008 (ever since the doc said they were worth $20 each on the street so be careful with them). I figured maybe some day I would have a pain that big, although it hasn't happened yet.

My question.... how long are they good for? Not the estimate put forth by the company that wants everything tossed so they can sell you more.... but in reality. How long do they stay effective? Do they ever turn toxic? Should I flush them or leave them in the safe a few more years?


Windy Wilson said...

I had 20 Percodan in 1979 for my wisdom teeth extraction. I held onto them for 5 years "just in case" some other need arose. I flushed them, not because I thought they were bad, but because I didn't want them around anymore. To my knowledge pills like the ones you have don't turn toxic, but the potency may decrease unpredictably.

Peter said...

If meds are kept in a cool, dry place, away from excessive sunlight, they can last 5-10 years easily. I'd be leery of them after 10 years, but not because they'd be toxic - only because their effectiveness might be diminished. I'd say a 10-year shelf life for tablets is perfectly achievable.

og said...

The opiates and opiate synthetics tend to not deteriorate as long as they're kept cool and I think dark. The meds you have to worry about deteriorating are antibiotics- most of the pain stuff works at a molecular level and not a biological level. I know people still using opiates that are forty years old with all the same pain killing properties as the new stuff. Vicodin (Paracetemol) is a mixture of the hydrocodone and acetaminophen. More likely the acetaminophen will lose it's potency than the hydrocodone.