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Health - Old cough syrup safety

Discussion in 'Codeine' started by c0rrupt22, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. c0rrupt22

    c0rrupt22 Silver Member Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Male from U.S.A.
    wondering about an old prescription

    my friend asked me to pass this on for him:

    Hi I've had previous experiences taking some of my old medications successfully when i needed, them like when i broke my arm and received vicodin and then needed them a few years later after a bad fall snowboarding..

    My question is though i have a bad cold and was prescribed cheratussin (codeine/psuedoephedrine/guaifenesin) on 09/12/07 for the same kind of cold. It is a liquid... i was wondering if since its a suspension with other ingredients would it be possible to go bad compared to a pill that would just lose potency over time?

    he thanks anyone for advice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2009
  2. chibi curmudgeon

    chibi curmudgeon Gold Finger Gold Member

    Reputation Points:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Female from U.S.A.
    Re: wondering about an old prescription

    Suspensions (and any liquids) generally have a shorter shelf life than solid dosage forms (like tablets). The expiration date on a bottle dispensed by a pharmacy (transferred into an amber bottle) would have an expiration date that's considerably sooner than the original bottle of liquid. They do this because it's assumed that transferring the liquid from one bottle to another contributes to the drug degradation.

    afaik, those drugs don't "go bad," but since 2007 they've probably lost potency. Most likely, the worst that could happen is that there just wouldn't be a significant amount of drug left.

    I wouldn't recommend taking a larger dose, especially because a large dose of pseudoephedrine would be bad. But I wouldn't expect the prescribed volume of liquid to still have the same amount of drug in it. It won't hurt to try the stuff, however.

    Oh, and it's probably full of preservatives, so I doubt it's moldy or anything. Obviously, if there's white fuzzy stuff on top, don't drink it.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  3. Censor

    Censor Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Male from U.K.
    Hello all,

    SWIM just found and half-bottle of codeine-containing cough syrup at home. That's good, since he has a cough.

    The problem is that, according to the label, this cough syrup expired in March 2008. Is there any health risk associated with taking expired cough syrup? It looks as viscous as it ever was and smells inoffensive.
  4. Robert Paulson

    Robert Paulson Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Re: Old cough syrup saftey

    To be honest it should be ok to drink. But seeing as you live in the UK (and SWIY probably does too) and there is a small chance that it could be bad (it has been opened which means that theres a significantly higher chance that it could be bad than if it hadnt been opened) i would recomend that SWIY goes out, buys some co-codamol and does a CWE on that seeing as it's cheap and over the counter.

    No point in taking chances when the opiate is readily available

    EDIT: To explain the part about the UK, what i meant was co-codamol is OTC in pharmacies there and there is no point taking risks over what is readily available and quite cheap (about XXXX for 256mg codeine). I probably should have used more detail and made it more less ambiguous but SWIM was in a state where he was nodding out every few minutes and i was having to watch him and therefore wasnt paying my full attention to how i was typing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2010
  5. Potter

    Potter Platinum Member & Advisor

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Female from U.S.A.
    Re: Old cough syrup saftey

    there is no danger at all. There are so many preservatives/ lack of "edible" ingredients, that bacteria simply are unable to grow in cough syrup. The drugs will still be good unless it was left in the trunk of a car/oven.

    Have fun with that stuff.
  6. Dr_Janus

    Dr_Janus Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Swiy will be safe, swim has used out of date codeine based cough syrup before and has had no problems.

    Points that should be considered is that everything that a consumer can buy comes with a EXPIRATION DATE, this is to cover the asses of the companies that sell them. They do not necessarily represent an actual safety cut-off point by any means at all!

    So swim should be fine, hope someone's cough gets better soon matey.
  7. missparkles

    missparkles Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Female from U.K.
    The sell by and use by dates are just guides. Usually the manufacturers test these substances and leave a huge window of safety. They know that people will perhaps use a cough meds that's been opened and not look at the dates for use that's displayed on the bottle.

    They can't afford for their products to make people ill just cos a meds is a few weeks outta date. If this was the case it would have specific directions (as quite a few eye medications do) and tell you NOT to use after a certain time. Another thing to be considered, most of these mixtures are prepared with an alcohol base, and this would also act as a preservative.

    But if SWIY isn't sure, then by all means tip it down the sink. Sparkles has had morphine linctus that has been 18 months out of date, but it was fine. Not saying SWIY should follow her example...just saying...ok?