medicine cabinet myths
Boost your OTC knowledge with this true-or-false trivia.
1/ You should trash OTC meds the second they expire. // FALSE
Painkillers and cold meds are typically A-OK to take after they’ve expired, says Rahul
Khare, M.D. “They can still be effective a month or two past the date on the box, but I wouldn’t take anything after six months,” he says. The exception: liquid syrups, which can go rancid.
2/ If the recommended dose of a pain reliever doesn’t help, popping lots more of the same medicine will. // FALSE
“OTC drugs like acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen have maximum ‘ceiling doses,’ which means that taking more than what’s on the label won’t add to the drug’s effectiveness; it will only contribute to its toxicity,” says Patrick J. McDonnell, Pharm.D., professor of clinical pharmacy practice at Temple University School of Pharmacy. If you need a boatload of relief, talk to your doctor about other options.