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Medication Side Effects – Then and Now

2013 Mental Health Humor -  overmedicated old medications - Chato Stewart
Old Medication: Sonny, in my day we didn’t have fancy warning labels… We’d swallow & ignore the side effects! Yup, good times!
Caption: Old Meds, Old Ideas


(reTWEET and you could win a Caricature)
My 9 Favorite Over-Medicated Cartoon | Over-Medicated Cartoon 2| Over-Medicated Cartoon 3| Over-Medicated Cartoon 4| Over-Medicated Cartoon 5| Over-Medicated Cartoon 6| Over-Medicated Cartoon 7| Over-Medicated Cartoon 8| Over-Medicated Cartoon 9

Medication Side Effects – Then and Now.  How many of us have medications that are over a year old?  Over Five years old?  Over ten or maybe twenty years old?  I would hope not many would have medications over 5 years old.  Statistically speaking, it’s estimated about 40% of us have meds over 5 years old.  Nearly 90% have meds older than a year.  WHY?

I believe there are a few reason. One reason: “time and circumstance.”  The truth about expiration dates is that they were government enforced and mandated for medications starting 1979. In short, the expiration date is when the pharmaceutical company will stop the guarantee that the drug is at 100% full potency.  Any time after the expiration, the drug is not going to work as well. What is the average date of expiration… ONE YEAR!

If you’re an economics major, then you can understand why Big Pharmacy put a 1 year, supply and demand. The fact is many medications do have 100% full potency LONG after the one year mark.  But we have been taught (with some scare tactics) that we need to toss out (properly dispose) our medication as soon as the expiration dates say.

This is not always the best thing to do, especially if your like me and you may have been on lots of different mental health medications.  Back to TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE, I may not have the insurance or money to buy one medication so I hold on to some meds. I am not advocating using old medications, but rather being prepared if you run out.  I would rather use my anti-depression med that is two years old then go off it 100%.

This is just my opinion of mental health medication, that it’s okay to use them after the expiration date… Though 20 year old meds, well I would not chance it! In my mind, I have a two year cut off point.  So far, So Good.


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Medication Side Effects – Then and Now

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2016). Medication Side Effects – Then and Now. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Apr 2016
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