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If you are in need of any type of medicine, chances are you don’t want any sort of delay before you can take them. With that said, it can be very annoying when you go to take your medicine only to realize that it is expired and no longer consumable. This certainly goes for medication such as Tums, as it is likely you really do not want to wait for them to help soothe your pain. So the following article will hopefully help you understand if Tums expire, if you can eat expired Tums, and general information about expired medicine.
Table of Contents
What are Tums?
Tums are a type of medication that is used to combat symptoms from stomach acid issues such as heartburn, an upset stomach, or indigestion. They are classed as an antacid that reduces the amount of acid in the stomach and typically will turn it into a more body-friendly substance such as water.
Tums can be purchased in multiple forms such as a pill or chewable tablets. If you have a chewable tablet, it is best to chew well before swallowing. There is also a liquid form of the medication available and it is advised that you shake well before consumption. There are instructions on the packaging to assist you in taking this medication and it is imperative that you follow these as it will instruct you on how to take them as well as the appropriate dosage for you.
While all medicine is used to treat a bodily issue, or something similar, it is only natural for this to disrupt the body in some way and cause side effects. These vary from medicine to medicine but are typically small things that will not cause too much of an inconvenience. The normal side effects of Tums are:
- Burping more often than usual
I used the words “normal side effects” as there are some side effects that are expected, yet on the other hand, there are some side effects that are less common and will cause more issues. These serious side effects are:
- Serious loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Bone/muscle pain
- Mood changes
If any of these are experienced by you after consumption then it is advised you visit your doctor and let them have a look at you.
Tums are mostly made out of calcium carbonate as this chemical is great for neutralizing acid. Any other active ingredient will be listed on the packaging and it is best to look at this before consumption to make sure you are not allergic to it. As Tums are not prescription drugs, it is up to you to ensure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients found within.
The expiration date of Tums will be found on the packaging and it is important that you pay attention to this. It is common for pills such as Tums, acetaminophen, aspirin, and antihistamines to have expiration dates but they are typically good to consume regardless of if they are opened a few months or a day before this date. Unlike some medications such as insulin which have changing expiration dates based on when they are first opened and used.
How to store Tums
The storage of calcium carbonate is very simplistic as there are no special instructions. It will say on the package label how to store them but the main points are that they should remain in a sealed package without being in direct sunlight. It is also good to avoid any humid environment and store them in a dark place. Any cupboard or drawer in a bathroom or bedroom is most likely an optimal place to store them as long as they stay at room temperature. If you are unsure about how to store these or any other medications, then it is best to ask your pharmacist for a more definite answer. Almost any medicine cabinet sold will also be a good place to store any vial, container, bottle, or packet of Tums.
Similar to other expired medicines, Tums will mostly just lose their potency and effectiveness as they reach any expiration dates set for them. It is a common misconception with a lot of medicine that after the expiration date they will “go bad” similar to how food does, but this is wrong as Tums after the expiration date will simply not work as well anymore. Some other medicines, of course, will go bad and will be potentially dangerous to consume. However, for most pills and tums tablets, it is only their effectiveness that depletes.
The expiration date of any medicine is not a mark of when exactly it will lose all potency. It is simply the latest date to which the potency has been tested and is still detected. To word this in a more simple way, the expiration date is the latest known date of when the medicine still works as intended. It may continue working for another few days, but the research has not been done for that so it is not a good idea to continue consuming anything after that date. The journal of the American Medical Association has said that some medicines can preserve their potency and effectiveness for up to four decades, which can put into perspective just how difficult it is to properly judge a medicine’s true expiration date.
What happens if you consume expired Tums?
As mentioned, Tums do not necessarily go bad. Instead, they just become less effective at treating heartburn and other issues. If you are to consume expired Tums then it is likely that nothing will happen. There will be no dangerous consequences but it is still not recommended as any doctor or pharmacist cannot guarantee any effect that will follow. The expiration date is expected to be followed, but if you are having severe heartburn then week-old Tums will be more helpful than not taking anything.
So Do Tums Expire?
To summarize, the general answer is that Tums do expire but not in the way that you think they would. Instead of going bad or becoming spoiled, they simply lose their potency and are no longer as good for treating heartburn, indigestion, and other stomach acid symptoms. The main active ingredient in them is calcium carbonate and can also be used as a treatment for an upset stomach.
Medicines similar to this such as tablets and aspirin lose potency on a certain date depending on when they were made. Antibiotics and insulin, however, have an expiration date that primarily depends on when the product is first opened and used. Tums and other similar medicines should be stored as instructed on the packaging or by a pharmacist and this usually involves avoiding direct sunlight and any overly humid environment.
How long do Tums last for?
Tums are used to combat stomach acid issues and are best taken a little while after eating food. Because of the nature of the medicine and how it works, each dosage will only last for 1-3 hours. If you are enquiring about the expiration date, check your bottle or packaging as this will be shown here.
Can I take expired calcium tablets?
Expired calcium tablets are still somewhat effective and potent, so if there is no other alternative then an expired tablet will be better at combating your issues than taking nothing at all.
What medications become toxic after expiration?
Most medication will simply lose potency, however, there are some medications such as liquid antibiotics, eye drops, and nitroglycerin that has the potential to become harmful to you once they have reached their expiration date.