Kris Aquino relayed an urgent message on medication that we should all remember, especially for those who take care of our children when we are not around.
After a tiring-but-worth-it webisode shoot two days ago, the Queen of All Media shared that she and son Bimb Yap had been nursing a cold, and the medication they were taking didn't seem to have any effect. It turned out that she and Bimb were drinking expired medicine.
"Ready to sleep...but needed to warn moms (and dads) — check the expiration date of all medicine," the mom of two wrote on Instagram. "I was wondering why we’re still sniffling, so I checked. They thought [it was the] manufacturing date on the cold medication. Wrong! Expiration pala," Kris shared.
Labeling food, drugs, and even cosmetics, including the products' expiration date, is been imposed on all products that are to be sold in the country since 1988.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Administrative Order No. 55, or "Requirement for the Labeling of Pharmaceutical Products," defines the expiration date as "the date after which the product is not expected to retain its claimed safety, efficacy and quality or potency, or after which it is not permissible to sell, distribute or use said product."
What happens if you drink an expired paracetamol tablet? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), expired medicine can be risky due to the change in chemical composition, and it may even be at risk for bacterial growth. It can't also do its job correctly, becoming less effective or it will decrease in strength. Expired antibiotics can fail to treat infections, which could lead to more severe illnesses and antibiotic resistance.
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"The medicine expiration date is a critical part of deciding if the product is safe to use and will work as intended," said Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance in U.S. FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in the U.S. FDA's website.
"If your medicine has expired, do not use it."
The expiration date should be printed on the label or stamped onto the bottle or carton of the medication, sometimes following the letters EXP. It's not a suggestion. Checking and sticking to the expiration date before you ingest the medicine, whether they are in syrup or capsule and tablet form is crucial to your family's health.
Note that expiration date, which refers to safety, is different from the "best before date," which often applies to food and the quality. A "best before date" means the food may not taste as good if you eat it after the date indicated. (FDA food-drug regulation officer Timothy Mendoza explained in an ABS-CBN News report importers are required to put an expiration date on the products before they put it out on the market.)
Expiration dates on blister packs are hard to read even when you have 20/20 vision. You may want to ask the pharmacist to help you to understand before you leave the drug store. (If it comes with a box, the expiration should be on it and much easier to read.)
Then, plot the expiration date on your phone's calendar. Make it a habit of setting the alarm to send you a reminder to restock expired medicine just in case you still have unused medications in your medicine box.
Storage is also crucial. Improper storage can contribute to the decreased efficacy of the drug even if they aren't expired yet. Make sure you follow correct storage instructions on the label. Most medications should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a dresser drawer, storage box, closet shelf, or kitchen cabinet. Some need to be stored in the refrigerator while others should not be exposed to high temperatures.
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Practice proper disposal of expired medicines, too. You can only flush the expired drugs down the toilet if they're in the FDA list of flushable medications. If not, follow these simple instructions on how to dispose of expired medicines in the household trash:
1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds. 2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag. 3. Throw the container in your household trash. 4. Delete all personal information on the prescription label of empty pill bottles or medicine packaging, then dispose of the container.