Just few days ago, the music industry was hit with the sad news of the death of one of our beloved gospel singers, Eric Arubayi. He was in his thirties and was married with a kid.
Unconfirmed reports stated that his death was as a result of his consumption of expired malaria drugs.
Can expired drugs lead to death?
Drugs are substances taken to fight infections and to help heal the body from any damage done to it by harmful organisms. Every drug manufactured has a shelf life which is the length of time a packaged product can last and must be stored under specific conditions and still meet the performance requirements specified.
In other words, the expiry date of a drug is the final day the manufacturer guarantees the safety and potency of the drug beyond which, medicating with results cannot be guaranteed.
When buying drugs, you must look out for these:
1.Do not be in a haste.
2.Get a prescription from a qualified personnel. Don’t just walk into a store and prescribe something for yourself.
3.Avoid visiting the popular Nigerian ‘Chemists’, some of the attendants can’t even read.
4.Walk into a registered pharmacy or drug store. You would see the trademarks hung in there.
5.Ask for original brands. In our clime, there are original brands and then there are cheap brands.
6.Get your medication and ensure it tallies with your prescription. Avoid your prescription being switched.
7.Check for NAFDAC number and expiry date.
8.Popularly used drugs like some anti malarials have verification codes on them which are TOLL FREE. Dial the codes for verification. It takes less than a minute.
9.Ensure to let the attendant know that you would be back if the drug is not effective.
Some retailers are callous and it is not uncommon for them to sell fake drugs or scrape off expiry dates and put up new dates. In such cases, one may still fall victim despite all checks.
Here are few things you should know about expired drugs:
1.The shelf life of a drug is determined by the ingredients the drug is made of, the preservatives present in the drugs, light, humidity, temperature fluctuations and storage conditions.
2.The shelf life of most drugs are usually longer than the expiry date. In other words, most drugs do not actually expire after their expiry dates. Nonetheless, since most consumers are not aware of the actual shelf life of these drugs, it would be difficult to determine which drug has truly expired.
3.There is yet no established fact that taking expired drugs is poisonous to the human body. The issue with expired drugs is majorly that of lack of potency.
4.Drugs in the form of caplets, tablets and capsules are generally safer after their expiry dates than drugs in form of solutions and injections.
If a drug is properly stored, its potency is usually extended BUT the manufacturer’s instructions on storage should be strictly adhered to.
When a particular drug changes its colour, becomes cloudy, is powdery or crumbling; then it is no longer safe for use even if it has not passed its expiry date.
SO A DRUG CAN ALSO LOSE ITS POTENCY BEFORE IT IS EXPIRED!
I love you, I love your health.
Your favourite family physician