LOS ANGELES — Chances are, your medicine cabinet contains some pills that are past their expiration date. You might even have some pain relievers, some cough syrup or some sleeping pills that were purchased back when Richard Nixon was in the White House. But you can’t seem to throw them away because you suspect they might still be OK to take.
If you’ve wondered whether medicines really do need to be tossed after their expiration date, you’ve got some company at the California Poison Control System, the University of California, San Francisco, and UC Irvine. Researchers from those institutions decided to satisfy their curiosity by testing the effectiveness of eight drugs that had been sitting around, unopened, in pharmacies for years after they had supposedly gone bad.