Why Do Medicines Have an Expiration Date?

Things break down, and it’s a fact of life. What surrounds us are atoms in molecules colliding, constantly changing. Sometimes the change is slow, like when we discuss decomposing some plastics that take hundreds of years. Sometimes it’s fast, like when you leave the soup out of the fridge, and after two days, it’s sour.


From these examples, we can understand two things about the renewal of medicines:

  • It depends on the conditions in which they were stored (whether or not they were in the cold);
  • It depends on what kind of thing it is (whether it’s plastic or soup or whatever).

In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about the expiration idea of drugs. Also, we will point you to where you can buy drugs in Canada that are well-stored and still valid.

What Causes Medicines To Expire?

The processes that cause medicines to spoil are many and varied. Still, the vital thing to remember here is that just because they are synthesized in the laboratory or appear in a form that seems more or less invulnerable to us, it does not imply that they are not degradable.


When a medicine is authorized to be marketed, it has to bring some “stability studies,” with it. That is information on what happens when it is exposed to certain storage conditions for a certain period of time.


It is on this basis that the production company calculates the “real” expiry date of the medicine. Then, for security reasons, this period is slightly shortened in order to write the expiry date printed on the box.


So yes, it is true that the medicine is often “good” even after the printed expiry date has passed, and you can still buy such a drug for usage. But this depends a lot on several factors, which any health professional cannot guarantee:


  • If it was stored under ideal conditions: Inside its original packaging, with minimal contact with air, light, and intense heat above 25°C;
  • If not, it is a product with an expiration date after opening. This can usually be seen in eye drops, syrups, and ointments and can appear in the form of a symbol with an open cylindrical box with 6M or 12M written on it.
  • Once opened, a product comes into contact with air, which is often enough to start an accelerated degradation process: that’s why this exception to the deadline is written on the packaging.

But What Is This Degradation?

As I have already mentioned, the processes can be many. Still, the result is more or less simple: Molecule A, which was our active substance (that for which we take our medicine), ceases to be Molecule A and becomes a cousin. This cousin is sometimes cool, but usually, it isn’t either because it doesn’t have all the effect it needs to have or because it can even have negative effects.


In conclusion, what should we do about medicines that are out of date (printed or after-opening) or have been in less-than-adequate storage conditions? Dispose of such a drug if you still have it at home, and ensure you check the expiration dates whenever you buy prescriptions from a Canadian pharmacy.


In a more urgent situation or another, where the deadline has been barely exceeded, you can talk to your pharmacist to find out if it is something that could be broken occasionally, but this is not even remotely the general rule: when we talk about medicines we should always play it safe and needless to put ourselves at risk unnecessarily.


Suppose you need to get a drug regardless of its use. It is always best to buy the one that is still valid and not expired. Thus, NorthSideMed is the only trusted store to get the right drugs if you are buying prescription drugs from Canada.