As a leader in the education of the next generation of pharmacists, Dr. Fernando Gonzalez wants to make sure that their patients listen to instructions.

The Director of Pharmacy Practice at LIU Pharmacy was featured on Fox 5 New York’s evening newscast on August 21, stressing the importance of disposing of expired medication.

While some studies have indicated that medications can remain potent past their expiration dates, Dr. Gonzalez pointed out that the potency of a drug is just one of many concerns that patients must consider.

“The drug doesn’t dissolve the same way,” Gonzalez explained, “and once the medication is open, or it’s not kept under the right conditions – temperature, humidity – different things can happen to the drug. It can even become toxic.”

Dr. Gonzalez also noted that liquid medications pose a particular danger if kept and used past their printed expiration dates.

“Liquids are probably worse, because they’re less stable than the oral solid dosage forms. Many of the liquids, when you get an antibiotic, they’re so unstable that they don’t mix it until you get there, so if you get a pediatric antibiotic, the pharmacist probably mixes it when you bring [the prescription] and tells you it’s good for seven to 14 days.”

Those instructions are paramount for patient safety, and Dr. Gonzalez minced no words when addressing the television audience.

“If a doctor gives you an antibiotic for 14 days, take it for 14 days. Don’t take it for seven days and then stop, say, ‘I feel better,’ and then the next time, take it again.”

Click here to watch the full segment at Fox 5 New York’s website.