We’ve all been there—we dig through our medicine cabinets in search of relief for congestion, coughing, or a headache, and we find the exact medication we’re looking for. There’s only one problem: it expired months (or even years) ago!

It can be tempting to pop the pills anyway and hope for the best, but is doing so actually safe? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “expired medical products can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength.” In addition, they state that once a medication exceeds its expiration date, “there’s no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective.”

Most expired medications are simply less effective than they otherwise would be. That includes medications that are still in sealed packaging. But other medications that have been exposed to air, sunlight, and other contaminants may be dangerously bacteria-laden and pose serious risks if used.

It’s important to regularly go through your medications and safely dispose of expired drugs. That includes both prescription medications and over-the-counter medications. In addition, be sure to store your medications safely and properly. Medications that are still “in date” but that were stored improperly can be subject to the same contamination and reduced effectiveness risks as expired medications.

Unfortunately, even properly stored and brand-new medications can put patients at risk when their manufacturers fail to properly design, test, or manufacture them. When that happens, our drug injury lawyers help innocent victims get compensation. If you or someone you love was harmed by a defective drug, contact Ferrer Poirot Feller Daniel today for a free consultation.