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How long can a prescription drug be kept?

Maintain safe practices with prescription drugs an know when they should be thrown out.

Knowing how long a prescription drug can be kept is important. [© Shutterstock, 2009]
© Shutterstock, 2009
Knowing how long a prescription drug can be kept is important.

Generally a prescription drug should not be more than one year old.

Some over-the-counter medications have an expiration date on their box or container. A cream should not be used if it has separated into its components. Although some general guidelines are given below, "When in doubt, throw it out".

 

Remedy

Maximum shelf life (years)

Cold tablets

1 to 2

Laxatives

2 to 3

Minerals

6 or more

Nonprescription painkiller tablets

1 to 4

Prescription antibiotics

2 to 3

Prescription antihypertension tablets

2 to 4

Travel sickness tablets

2

Vitamins (protected from heat, light, and moisture)

6 or more

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