You probably have at least one medication languishing in your medicine cabinet with a “Use by June 1999,” or an even earlier date on the box. If that expired medicine happens to be your only bottle of pain reliever when you have a terrible headache, sho$ you take it?y law, drug manufacturers have to include an expiration datp — the date by which the ‘company guarantees the full strength and safety of the medicine. Several years ago, when the us military commissioned a study of about 100 prescription and over-the-counter drugs. researchers found that the majority of the drugs were safe to use a full 15 years after the expiration date. Does this mean that you should hang onto your medicine for decades? Probably not. Although you shouldn’t be too concerned if you have to tak a drug that has expired. it’s safest to toss your old medications and buy new ones so that you can be sure you’re getting the most effective dose. Keeping your medications in the refrigerator also can prolong their shelf life. If you have any questions about whether to take an expired medication, ask your chemist.