What can happen if you take expired allergy medicine
Aspirin is also safe and effective for years after the expiration date on the label.
Langdon said the humidity and heat of the bathroom make it a bad put to store medications. Opt for a container in a dark, dry spot, such as a secure closet or cabinet, instead.
Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is best within 4 to 5 years
Just love ibuprofen, acetaminophen should be used within four to five years of opening and liquid forms should be used by the printed expiration date, according to Langdon.
Keep your acetaminophen in a dry area under 77 degrees Fahrenheit and away from sunlight.
Antibiotics should be used immediately as prescribed, but most can final at least a year
Most prescribed antibiotics are suitable for one year.
"Almost every antibiotics are prescribed for a full course, and therefore there should not be any leftovers," Langdon said.
"In the case of daily or chronic use, one year from dispensing is the safe expiration date."
Liquid antibiotics need to be reconstituted after the expiration date the pharmacist gives, so they should be used immediately.
Use cough syrup by the expiration date on the package
As a liquid medication, cough syrup breaks below more quickly and doesn't stand up as well as dry medication to long-term storage.
"Store cough syrup in the refrigerator if you desire to prolong the effectiveness and taste.
The risk of contamination is based on the number of openings and time," Langdon said.
To hold your cough syrup from being contaminated, never drink directly from the bottle and don't insert any objects into the bottle unless a physician tells you to.
Read more: Here's why parents should never give over-the-counter cough and freezing medicine to kids under 6
In most cases, the expiration date on medication doesn't mean what you ponder it does
The expiration date on the packaging of OTC and prescription drugs doesn't necessarily reflect when the product expires.
"The vast majority of medications maintain most of their potency years after the posted expiration date.
That date is the date after which full potency cannot be guaranteed by the manufacturer," emergency-medicine specialist Dr. Jack Springer told INSIDER.
Studies conducted by independent researchers and the Food and Drug istration own found that common drugs retain almost every their potency numerous years after the posted expiration date.
"The expiration date doesn't really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use," Springer said.
"Medical authorities state if expired medicine is safe to take, even those that expired years ago."
There are exceptions; some medications and drug types undergo changes during extended storage that can compromise their safety or effectiveness. Liquid medications and some antibiotics are among these.
Keeping in mind that most OTC medications in tablet or capsule form are safe to use for numerous years after their expiration date, here are some guidelines on how to manage the drugs in your medicine cabinet.
Use Ibuprofen within 4 to 5 years of opening
Ibuprofen in tablet form, which brands including Advil sell, is at its most potent within four to five years of opening, but it's safe to consume for numerous years after.
Kim Langdon, a clinical adviser at digital-health startup Medzino, told INSIDER that liquid suspensions of ibuprofen are "more susceptible to contamination" and that they should be refrigerated.
"The expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary and required by regulations, but the most significant risk is that they lose effectiveness over time rather than a safety issue," Langdon said.
Store liquid and tablet ibuprofen in a cool, dry space away from sunlight.