Can pills go bad?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can pills go bad?” and the ways to store and use medicated pills properly.

Can pills go bad?

Yes, pills can get contaminated. Certain expired medications serve as bacterial growth magnets, and ineffective antibiotics may result in more severe infections and the development of antibiotic resistance. There is no guarantee that a drug will continue to be safe and effective after its expiration date has passed.

Recognize the importance of expiration dates and use them appropriately.

You must first understand why both prescription and non-prescription medicines have expiry dates or warnings before you can fully comprehend the ramifications of ingesting outdated prescriptions.

To begin, each medicine has a distinct formulation that specifies the active and inactive ingredients in each medication. They aid in the treatment of various diseases, ailments, and symptoms by increasing the effectiveness of the medicine. When medicine is manufactured, the manufacturer determines how long it will have a shelf life. Generally speaking, the phrase “shelf life” refers to the amount of time that a medicine may be used before it begins to degrade. An evaluation of a product’s effectiveness and safety over a certain length of time is included in this process.

The complete effectiveness and safety of a drug are maintained if it is used within the specified shelf life and by the manufacturer’s recommendations. The word efficacy may be used to refer to effectiveness in this context. As the name implies, this parameter shows a drug’s ability to provide the intended effect. The higher the efficacy of a medication, the more favorable the result is likely to be. You may experience a lack of treatment for the symptoms for which the drug was prescribed if you take a medication that is not working correctly.

Concerns Regarding the Safety of Medications that Have Expired

Another issue to consider in the context of drug expiration, in addition to effectiveness, is the medication’s overall safety. The chemical and physical characteristics of medication may change with time, raising questions about the treatment’s long-term effectiveness and safety. Physical signs of these changes are common, such as the yellowing of a medicine that has reached the expiration date.

Medical professionals advise against the use of expired medications owing to the inability to determine whether or not they are safe. This is due to the unknown risk associated with using expired medications.


Prescription drug addiction is at an all-time high in the United States, and keeping unused or expired medications such as Xanax or opioids on hand increases the likelihood that these medications may be misused in the future. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, many prescription medicines are obtained via friends and family members and then abused, resulting in unintentional overdoses and addiction in the process.

It is not only dangerous to have expired medicines in your home, but it is also dangerous for children and pets to ingest them, resulting in serious adverse reactions or death.

How to Dispose of Medications That Have Expired?

It is frequently better to just throw away expired medicines than to think about the ramifications of doing so in the first place. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following steps for safely destroying outdated medications:

The first step is to check the medication’s label for instructions on how to dispose of it.

If no specific instructions are provided, many government-run medication take-back programs are open to the general public to use.

If none of these options are available in your area, you may dispose of medicine in the trash after mixing it with something else, such as coffee grounds, to prevent bacterial contamination.

As an added precaution, before throwing out expired medicines, check with the FDA to be sure they are not classed as pharmaceuticals that should be flushed rather than thrown away.

Prescription Medications: How to Store Them Correctly?

Always check the label to see what storage techniques are suggested. Certain medications, for example, must be kept refrigerated until they are used. Bathroom medicine cabinets are not usually the best place to store medicines owing to the risk of some capsule exterior coatings dissolving due to high levels of local humidity. Certain medicines, most notably aspirin, deteriorate rapidly when exposed to high levels of humidity.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can pills go bad?” and the ways to store and use medicated pills properly.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.