Someone wrote in [personal profile] rthstewart 2016-11-13 06:21 am (UTC)

Expiry dates are generally conservative, and steroids (the hormones that are in OCs) in particular are pretty stable. I would never recommend taking out of date medication but if there was one that you had to take in desperation an OC is probably one of the better options.

For implants and IUDs, the expiry date is more important because those products have to be sterile to use, and I wouldn't want anyone to put something in their body that you couldn't guarantee was still sterile.

Here's a report on a study done by the FDA at the request of the military: Drug Expiration Dates: Do They Mean Anything? (

They found that 90% of the active ingredient is still present up to fifteen years past the expiration date. Whether 90% of the active ingredient is enough to give you contraceptive protection is harder to predict, but I think, in dire circumstances, it could definitely be an option.

My totally illicit suggestions for maximising your chances of keeping the medication in a good state for the longest time: From a practical point of view, you'd probably want the kind of pack that has a foil blister, not the plastic discs where all the tablets are exposed to air. You'd want the glossy, sugar-coated tablets rather than the rough-textured chalky lookig tablets, because they've got an extra layer protecting them from air and moisture. (I'm sorry - I'm not from the US, so I can't suggest brands) You'd want to keep the medication in its original box, in the dark, in a cool place. Not the fridge - that way lies condensation and moisture. Just in a cool, dark cupboard.

Disclaimers: I'm a pharmacist. A community one, so not someone who has done stability studies or any research. I'm just working with information I have from training and experience. [personal profile] rthstewart, sorry to be anon, but I can't legally be seen to advise taking medication that's past expiry. Thank you for your post which is informative and good.

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