Prepper Ponderings

Amazing Feat

This isn't prepping related, but did you see Felix Baumgartner's incredible free fall from 128,000 feet today?  I was absolutely spellbound watching it this afternoon.  Human ingenuity at it's finest.

Shelf Life of Medications

Anything you pick up at the drug store, whether prescription or OTC, will have an expiration date.  There has always been a ton of controversy about how long past the expiration date the medications will still be potent, or even safe.  Several years ago, the FDA and Dept. of Defense released a study about extending the shelf life, but it was since removed from public access and made very difficult to track down.

A couple of days ago, Dr. Bones of www.DoomAndBloom.net put out a post about a new study that he has asked me to share, as he believes it is one of his most important posts ever.

Here's a preview:

Over the years, I have expressed my opinions on the bogus nature of the expiration dates stamped on medications in pill or capsule form. I have cited the findings of the Shelf Life Extension Program, a program meant to investigate the possible usefulness of the millions of doses of various expired medications stockpiled by FEMA for use in peacetime disasters.

In my original article, “The Truth About Expiration Dates” 2 years ago, I indicated these findings were no longer available to the public. Now, a breakthrough scientific article has been published in the respected journal “The Archives of Internal Medicine”. Below is the article in its entirety, with important sections in bold type:
October 8, 2012 — An analysis of 8 medications indicates that most of the active ingredients they contain were present in adequate amounts decades after the drugs’ expiration dates, according to results from a study published online October 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lee Cantrell, PharmD, from the California Poison Control System, San Diego Division, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, and colleagues used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to measure the amounts of the active ingredients in the medications. The medicines, which had expired 28 to 40 years ago, were found in a retail pharmacy in their original, unopened packaging.

To meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, an active ingredient must be present in 90% to 110% of the amount indicated on the label. Drug expiration dates are set for 12 to 60 months after production, even though many compounds can persist far longer.

In the new analysis, 12 of the 14 active ingredients persisted in concentrations that were 90% or greater of the amount indicated on the label. These 12 compounds retained their full potency for 336 months (Dr. Bones 28 years) or longer. Eight of them retained potency for at least 480 months (dr. bones: 40 years). Dr. Cantrell’s team was unable to find a standard for homatropine, 1 of the 15 ingredients.

Only aspirin and amphetamine fell below the 90% cutoff. Phenacetin was present at greater than the cutoff in Fiorinal (butalbital, aspirin, caffeine, and codeine phosphate, but was considerably less in Codempiral No. 3. The authors attribute the deficit in Codempiral to conditions that led to preferential degradation of phenacetin because of its amide group, compared with codeine, which is also in Codempiral but is more chemically stable.

Three compounds persisted in greater than 110% of the labeled contents: methaqualone (in Somnafac), meprobamate (in Bamadex), and pentobarbital (in Nebralin). These relatively high amounts may reflect degradation of other components of the compounded drug, the fact that the samples were produced before FDA-instituted quality control measures in 1963, or inconsistencies of the analytical techniques between when the drugs were compounded and now. The new findings are consistent with the efforts of the Shelf-Life Extension Program, which has extended the expiration dates on 88% of 122 drugs tested so far. Extensions range from 66 to 278 months.

“Our results support the effectiveness of broadly extending expiration dates for many drugs,” the researchers conclude. They also point out that extending shelf life can significantly lower costs to consumers.

Limitations of the analysis, the investigators write, include an inability to confirm the storage conditions of the drug samples, as well as imprecise dating of the samples. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

For the preparedness community, this information is very important, as it lends credence to what I have been telling you all along: Get your medical supplies together, and don’t throw out drugs in pill or capsule form just because they have passed their expiration dates. We are anxiously awaiting lists of the 122 drugs that the Shelf Life Extension Program has tested, but you can expect them to be medications that will be useful in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

Please visit Doom & Bloom and watch his video.  It is an eye opener!     Just One Holster?   There is a school of thought that says you should always carry the same type of pistol in the same type of holster in the same location on your body.  That might have some justification for a peace officer who also has to carry a baton, handcuffs, flashlight, CPR mask, OC spray and extra ammo, and needs to be able to put his or her hands on the right tool at the right moment in time.  For armed citizens, I'm not so sure that applies.  We are much more in need of the ability to alter our carry based on what we are wearing and what we are doing.   A sport coat or an untucked aloha shirt is great for a regular old pancake holster.  Shorts & a T shirt might call for pocket holster and a .38 snubbie.  When we went to the corn maze the other night, it was chilly, but not cold enough for a big coat.  I also knew we'd be doing a lot of walking, so I didn't really want extra weight on my hip.  I dug out the shoulder holster and I was able to wear my Glock 17 with a lightweight, short jacket in comfort and concealment, with easy access.   Like a lot of you, I have a drawer full of holsters of various types.  I think the key to it is to practice drawing and presenting with all of them periodically (be 100% sure your weapon is empty and there is no ammo around you), and when strapping one on, mentally adjust yourself to what you have and where it is.

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