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Old 07-15-2012, 05:50 PM   #1
SurvivorBoy1
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Default Shelf life of medications

I'm wondering how to store essential meds, i.e., beta blockers, insulin, statins, pain meds and what is their shelf life?



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Old 07-15-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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It varies greatly according to the meds.

As a general rule of thumb, solid pills can be effective for years after their expiration date. Store them in a dry, dark place, slightly cool. Keep out of heat and light.
Capsules should be stored the same way and are good well past the expiration date. Keep very dry and keep from heat, light, and freezing temps.

Liquid medications should be stored at room temperature away from light. They do last past their expiration date when stored at room temp, away from heat light, and freezing temps (approx 2 years), but will not last as long as pills or capsules. Once frozen and thawed, they are pretty much useless since most medication compounds will break down during this process, and you cannot test which ones are still good.

Insulin must be stored refridgerated. It loses effectiveness very rapidly when at room temperature. Unless you have access to a working refridgerator, your entire stock of insulin will not last more than 30 days. If frozen or overheated, it's gone.

IV antibiotics (levaquin, vanco, ancef, unasyn, etc) lose effectiveness rapidly after their expiration date, but if stored perfectly as described above, they should be of some use several months after expiration.

I'd advise finding pill or capsule versions of your necessary meds and storing them correctly. All the meds you listed above, except insulin, are available as pills or capsules.

Hope this helps!



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Old 07-15-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Default Great information

Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper13 View Post
It varies greatly according to the meds.

As a general rule of thumb, solid pills can be effective for years after their expiration date. Store them in a dry, dark place, slightly cool. Keep out of heat and light.
Capsules should be stored the same way and are good well past the expiration date. Keep very dry and keep from heat, light, and freezing temps.

Liquid medications should be stored at room temperature away from light. They do last past their expiration date when stored at room temp, away from heat light, and freezing temps (approx 2 years), but will not last as long as pills or capsules. Once frozen and thawed, they are pretty much useless since most medication compounds will break down during this process, and you cannot test which ones are still good.

Insulin must be stored refridgerated. It loses effectiveness very rapidly when at room temperature. Unless you have access to a working refridgerator, your entire stock of insulin will not last more than 30 days. If frozen or overheated, it's gone.

IV antibiotics (levaquin, vanco, ancef, unasyn, etc) lose effectiveness rapidly after their expiration date, but if stored perfectly as described above, they should be of some use several months after expiration.

I'd advise finding pill or capsule versions of your necessary meds and storing them correctly. All the meds you listed above, except insulin, are available as pills or capsules.

Hope this helps!
Many years ago I read about this and am glad that you have been able to post this so succinctly.

The US military (maybe army) has lots of medications and decided to do research to see which ones would be effective after their expiration dates. This has saved the US millions of dollars with this knowledge.

If you are one of those people who cannot handle the idea of anything after the expiration date, this won't probably work for you. But for the rest of us, such a deal!
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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Another question ref meds. Since large quantities of meds are hard to come by but vet meds are easy, can vets meds be used for people? Like antibiotics and ointments?

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Old 07-15-2012, 09:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurvivorBoy1 View Post
I'm wondering how to store essential meds, i.e., beta blockers, insulin, statins, pain meds and what is their shelf life?
I have the same concerns about insulin, my solution was to get a years supply and keep it in the refrigerator.

For SHTF scenario, I have a 12 volt Coleman Cooler with a battery and solar charger. The cooler will only keep its contents about 40 degrees cooler than ambient but it is something to work with.

The rest of the meds could be handled the same way in emergencies. Not an ideal solution but its better than dieing.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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Another question ref meds. Since large quantities of meds are hard to come by but vet meds are easy, can vets meds be used for people? Like antibiotics and ointments?
http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/f3/fish-antibiotics-antibiotic-uses-11003/
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:10 AM   #7
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Basically, veterinarian antibiotics and fish antibiotics would be equivalent to human antibiotics as listed on the label. This would also hold true for veterinary pain control meds. However, many vet antibiotics and all pain control meds that are Type 11 are still regulated by the DEA and you have to have a scrip. The only difference in vet vs human drugs is fewer quality controlls during the manufacturing process (not a big deal). I recommend visiting the link Davarm posted above.

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Old 07-16-2012, 02:30 PM   #8
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Vet meds, in many cases, ARE different than human meds based on the different carriers/buffers used. The safest cross-over medications are the fish antibiotics which ARE exactly the same as "human" antibiotics even being produced in the standard human dosage form. Any Vet medication other than fish antibiotics should NOT be used for human treatment/dosages.

Also freezing tablet/capsule forms of medications does not interfere with or harm the effectiveness of the medication and will extend the useful life of the medication by years and years!

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Old 07-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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Vet meds, in many cases, ARE different than human meds based on the different carriers/buffers used. The safest cross-over medications are the fish antibiotics which ARE exactly the same as "human" antibiotics even being produced in the standard human dosage form. Any Vet medication other than fish antibiotics should NOT be used for human treatment/dosages.

Also freezing tablet/capsule forms of medications does not interfere with or harm the effectiveness of the medication and will extend the useful life of the medication by years and years!
Hi, GoatLady.

I have to disagree with you regarding freezing solid medications. There is no evidence or data that freezing pills, particulary antibiotics, prolongs the shelf life, but there is much theoretical evidence that the freezing and thawing process results in the breakdown of active ingredients and/or separating active incredients from the transport buffer which allows them to work. The pill may look the same, but its effectiveness is often compromised. The best way to preserve any pill or capsule is by keeping them dry, away from light, and in a slightly cool environment unless there is specific data regarding alternative storage methods specifically stated for that drug. If the freezing process is used to stop chemical degradation, the product should be flash freeze-dried, which requires equipment that most preppers do not have access to. Using a normal kitchen freezer to do this results in water ice crystals forming on the pills, which will degrade them over time, especially when thawed (i.e. freezer-burn).

Veterinary drugs that are labeled as equivalent doses of common antibiotics are safe for humans in the post-SHTF enviroment (i.e. penicillin, amoxicillin, keflex, etc). The carriers and buffers used in vet drugs are normally benign to humans, although there may be some absorption differences. I would not use vet antibiotics when I have access to antibiotics labeled for human consumption, but would I use them when nothing else is available? You betcha...
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Old 07-17-2012, 03:49 AM   #10
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Well, the M.D. who suggested to me about freezing tablet and capsule form antibiotics has been the base camp doctor for National Graphic sponsored climbs of Mt. Everest at least 3-4 times, having with him only the medications that he and a couple sherpas hauled up there on their backs. He uses frozen antibiotics and other tablet and capsule form medications in those situations with no adverse effects, so that is good enough for me too. I also do not understand where the water/ice crstals would come from if the medications are first vac-packed which totally prevents freezer burn on anything packed that way. But to each their own. I am just sharing my personal experience and what medical folks have shared with me over the years. But I will share with you that I personally would never take a tablet/capsule form of an antibiotic made for a 1000# cow who has 4 stomachs to digest it nor one made for a 150# goat who has 3 stomachs to digest it! Nor would I take one formulated for a 1500# horse whose digestive enzynes are geared to a raw grass and raw grain diet. When occasions arise that will respond to a less conventional antibiotic and are not an immediate life threatening illness, I always reach for my herbal stuff first anyway.




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