I decided to take an over-the-counter pain reliever last night, because of my sprained ankle and wasn’t sure if pain when I lay down would keep me awake. 

But since I rarely take any drugs, I had to scrounge around to see what we had.  One bottle had a 2009 expiration date; the other two expired in 2002.  I hate wasting anything that’s still useful, but I wondered if it would be harmful, and not just a lowered effectiveness.

According to this article on Harvard’s Family Health Guide, a study for the military found that most drugs are effective even 15 years after expiration date.  But of course, you should check with pharmacy if you have any questions; the article mentions some specific exceptions to the case, like insulin. 

Anyway, I’ll be keeping those old bottles of ibuprofen and aspirin around just in case.   And fortunately I’m not in much pain, so think won’t need the non-expired acetomenophin tonight.  Hooray!