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Thread: Shelf life of antibiotics

  1. #1

    Shelf life of antibiotics

    I have developed a bladder infection and I have two questions.
    1. The DR. prescribed Nitrofurantoin. I have some of this at home which is approx. 2 years old. Is this still good?

    2. The DR. did not send a sample for culture, stating that nitro. works 90% of the time. Is this right?

  2. #2

    Expired meds

    Is your physician an expert in SCI? It is never appropriate to give a general antibiotic, esp. one that is so heavily used to someone with SCI without doing a culture and sensitivity. Many people have bugs that are resistant to this, and overuse of one antibiotic can increase the chance of resistance.

    While it might be appropriate to get a culture and then start Macrodantin if you have symptoms, the culture and sensitivity should be checked in 48-72 hours to be sure that this was the right antibiotic, and then changed if not.

    Why do you have left over antibiotics? When you are put on an antibiotic you should take all of it. Stopping when you feel better is a perfect way to increase your risk of developing resistance. Unless you have an allergic reaction or other complication, you should take the entire course.

    It is not possible to tell you if your drug is still good. It would depend on how old the stock was that the pharmacist took the drug from. The label should indicate an expiration date, and this should be observed. While this is not important for some drugs, this one does loose potency, esp. if stored in a moist environment such as a bathroom. (KLD)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Maceyka's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Columbia, South Carolina, USA


    I just went to the doctor last week for a UTI. When I was called back they handed me a cup and showed me the bathroom and said they needed a urine sample. I kindly told them that I would need to cath. The nurse looked dumbfounded and looked at the doctor who was sitting behind a desk. He thought for a minute and told her to just send me into the examining room.

    It ended up that they didn't have any catheters so he just asked me a few questions and prescribed an antibiotic (Levaquin). He gave me a prescription for 10 days at 500mg. He then told me that if that didn't work then I should just go to the emergency room and they would be able to cath me to get a culture.

    I checked the internet after I got home and found out that he over prescribed the Levaquin. If I remember correctly, for a "noncomplicated" UTI the dose is 250mg for three days and for a "complicated" UTI the dose is 250mg for 6 days.

    So, I took 4 days of the 500mg pills and saved the rest for a later UTI. I made the call myself that i had a "noncomplicated" UTI.


  4. #4


    Maceyka, many people with SCI obtain sterile specimen containers from their physicians so that they can cath at home and take the specimen with them when going to an appointment. While this is acceptable, it certainly is not the only option.

    I would recommend that you write a letter to your physician with this information, informing him that if he is going to hold himself out as a physician who is able to treat people with SCI, that he needs to alter his office and supplies to accomodate the care that they require (under the ADA). This would include the ability to collect a urine specimen by sterile straight catheterization. It is not acceptable under the ADA for you to receive a lower standard of care simply because you cannot get a "clean catch" (voided) urine specimen. You may want to consider a different physician if he chooses not to comply.

    Also mention the dosages on the antibiotic you received and ask for an explaination regarding the dosage. (KLD)

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