Amoxicillin is an antibiotic medicine that is orally administered. This drug is prescribed for infections caused by bacteria and is ineffective against viral and other infections. This drug is effective against bacterial infections of the bladder, digestive tract, ear, eyes and other parts of the body and is a cure for otisis, pneumonia, pharyngitis, lyme disease and anthrax, among others. Amoxicillin is available in many forms, including capsules, tablets, syrup and a suspension meant for babies. However, it is best administered orally as it is more effective when taken this way. The chemical formula of amoxicillin is C16H19N3O5S. The sodium salt of amoxicillin is used for intravenous administering of the drug.
Shelf Life of Amoxicillin
The shelf life of a drug is the duration of time for which the drug retains its real effect or potency, beginning from its date of manufacturing. In other words, it is the time period between the manufacturing date and the expiry date. The Food and Drug Administration has made it mandatory for pharmaceutical companies to determine the shelf life of drugs, based on the chemical composition of each. The method of calculating the shelf life is termed as stability analysis.
Drugs that are past their expiry date may not be toxic as such, but may have lost their effect or potency. Intake of such drugs might not be as effective as it is supposed to be and might even make the infection-causing microbes immune to the drug. This means that if you are administered the same drug again in future, there will be little or no effect. The environment in which the medicine is stored, also determines its shelf life to some extent. The medicine should be stored in a cool and dry place where it is not exposed to high temperature, high humidity, or strong light. Prolonged exposure to light might cause chemical reactions, altering the property of the drug.
Antibiotics such as amoxicillin are generally safe for consumption for many years, provided they are stored carefully and according to the standard instructions for storage of drugs. However, most pharmaceutical companies set a 2 year shelf life for most drugs, including antibiotics. This is because they want a continuous flow of the production-consumption cycle. The shelf life of amoxicillin tablets or capsules is 2 years from the date of manufacture. However, it is mandatory for the medical practitioner who gives it to you, or the chemist's where you purchase it from, to ensure that there's still a year left before the drug expires. Shelf life of liquid amoxicillin is about 10 days after the seal of the bottle is broken. However, if you ever notice even a slight discoloration or change in color of the drug, make sure to dispose it off, as it might have well turned toxic.
Side Effects of Amoxicillin
Intake of amoxicillin, a mild antibiotic, might result in minor side effects such as nausea and rashes or yellowing of the skin, accompanied by weakness. Other relatively rarer side effects include insomnia, anxiety, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing. It may even trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Should any of these symptoms persist or turn severe, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If the patient has consumed more than the prescribed dosage of amoxicillin, it is termed as overdose and is a medical emergency.
There are certain drugs that react with amoxicillin, lowering its potency and in some cases, even having an adverse effect on the body. These drugs chiefly include vaccine for typhoid, certain antibiotics, drugs used for treatment of cancer, uricosuric drugs, cephalosporins and birth control pills. You are also recommended not to consume this drug if you are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillin or have a history of asthma, kidney diseases or liver problems. It is important to complete the full and proper dosage of all antibiotics, including amoxicillin, to prevent a relapse of the infection and also to rule out the possibility of the microbes becoming immune to the drug.
So, this was about the shelf life of amoxicillin, and what things you need to consider before taking the drug. However, always consult your doctor before going ahead with any sort of medication. For, after all, your doc knows the best!