Drug Expiration Dates - Do They Mean Anything?
Article by Harvard Medical School


With a splitting headache you reach into your medicine cabinet for some aspirin only to find the stamped expiration date on the bottle has passed - two years ago. So, do you take it or don't you? If you decide to take the aspirin will it be a fatal mistake or will you simply continue to suffer from the headache?

This is a dilemma many people face in some way or another. A column published in Pyschopharmacology Today offers some advice.

It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in 1979, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.

Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

So the expiration date doesn't really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use. Medical authorities state expired drugs are safe to take, even those that expired years ago. A rare exception to this may be tetracycline, but the report on this is controversial among researchers. It's true the effectiveness of a drug may decrease over time, but much of the original potency still remains even a decade after the expiration date. Excluding nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics, most medications are as long-lasting as the ones tested by the military. Placing a medication in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, will help a drug remain potent for many years.

Is the expiration date a marketing ploy by drug manufacturers, to keep you restocking your medicine cabinet and their pockets regularly? You can look at it that way. Or you can also look at it this way: The expiration dates are very conservative to ensure you get everything you paid for. And, really, if a drug manufacturer had to do expiration-date testing for longer periods it would slow their ability to bring you new and improved formulations.

The next time you face the drug expiration date dilemma, consider what you've learned here. If the expiration date passed a few years ago and it's important that your drug is absolutely 100% effective, you might want to consider buying a new bottle. And if you have any questions about the safety or effectiveness of any drug, ask your pharmacist. He or she is a great resource when it comes to getting more information about your medications.

Article by Harvard Medical School

Flu Vaccine

The influenza vaccine is here. We have both the regular seasonal flu vaccine (for patients ages 3 and up) and the thimerisol free, also known as mercury free or preservative free (for children under the age of 3 and pregnant women). For HMO patients and non-patients (aka family members) the cost is $30, for the thimerisol free the cost is $35. Some PPO insurances may cover the vaccine, if not, you are financially responsible.  For more information, contact your insurance company.

You can come in to get either vaccine during injection room hours which are listed below; no appointment necessary*:

Mon - Fri, 8:30-11:30am - 1:00-4:30pm

*If you or your child are egg allergic, please speak with a receptionist to schedule a visit for evaluation and administration of the flu vaccine

Dietitian & Nutritionist
 
We are excited to introduce Jill Greer, a registered dietitian and an expert in pediatric nutrition. She provides an important component of multi-disciplinary care for our patients with food allergy. Jill is also available for consultation for any child or adult in the community with concerns about nutrition.
 
Jill received her Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Science at Pepperdine University before completing her dietetic internship at Loma Linda University. She obtained her Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition at California State University Long Beach in 2009 where she completed her Directed Project on Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis. Jill has over 10 years of clinical nutritional experience working as a senior and lead dietitian, with the majority of her years working at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Her specialties at CHOC included GI, celiac and feeding team, with cross-coverage of many areas including pediatric allergy.
 

Jill is certified as a Clinical Nutrition Support Dietitian and is California Children's Services paneled.

 

Reminders

Allergy and Asthma Medical Group strives to make it easier for our patients.  We have been utilizing the TeleVox / HouseCalls system for a few years now and would like to see how we could make things even better.  There is an option through our service that can notify you either via a phone call (which we currently do), or an email or even a text.  So, here is our question to you:  How do you want to receive a reminder "call" , "email" , or "text" ?  If you feel that multiple reminders are helpful, we'd like to know that too - so feel free to indicate more than one, in order of preference. 

It is always the patients responsibility to keep their appointments, but we'd like to be able to help that happen.

Please email me directly so I may collect the data and see where we may better serve our patients and their families.  Thank you, Teresa email: teresa@allergyandasthma.com

Please remember that if you are unable to keep your scheduled appointments, that you notify our office at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment.  These times are reserved specifically for you.  If you find that you are unable to make it to your scheduled appointment, but it is after hours, over a weekend or holiday - please call anyway.  You may leave us a message and we will return your call the next business day.  Thank you.


Hey it is back to school time again!  Don't forget to get all the school forms filled out.  Depending on when your child was last seen there may be a charge of $5 per page or they may need to be seen to be able to complete the forms. 

If the patient has not been seen in the past 6 months, an appointment must be scheduled in order for us to complete the form.  There will be no charge for forms which are completed during an appointment.

There are a couple of exceptions to the above:
1.   If the patient is being seen for food allergies only and their follow up is indicated for 1 year, we are able to complete the school form without an appointment.  There is still at $5 per page charge for the forms.  However, it is always encouraged that a patient or parent of the child, have an appointment before any school form is completed, to make sure the form is up-to-date, and accurate.

2.   If a patient requires a note to carry a medication on a plane (e.g. Epi Pen), they do not require an office visit and will not be charged for the note, as long as they have been seen within a year's time.

If you have any questions please call our office and we can help.

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