Prep Expiration Protection?

Question

Hi there, my question is what is the risk/can you take, year old Truvada(hiv prevention medication) Ive tried to find answers to this on the internet but I cant seem to find anything, Im wanting to know for the curiosity of it, Ive always wanted to know if the medication be comes inactive after its expiration date or if there is more life threatening side effect behind it.

Answer

I can understand your concerns about drug expiration dates, and wanting to make sure that if you're using PrEP that you are taking a dose that will offer the maximal protection from HIV.

Fortunately, Truvada has a very long shelf life, and most likely effective even after that. On the Truvada bottle you will see an expiration date printed. It appears to the right of the "Truvada" label, on the side, under the "Gilead" marker. It will show the "Lot" the batch was made in, and the "Exp" meaning the expiration date.

The timeline of the expiration date can vary quite a bit depending on your geographic location and the pharmacy you are using. The bottle I just opened last week has an expiration date of "10/2020", meaning October 2020 - over two years from now. Most of the people I have spoken with typically get their bottles with an expiration date of two years ahead.

The good news is, even if you were to receive a bottle with a sooner expiration date, and for some reason it was not completely used by then, there is still good reason to believe the medications will work beyond the original expiration. Although there has not been research that has specifically been tested for Truvada, it is believed that most prescribed medications still work perfectly well years after the date on the bottle (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/drug-expiration-dates-do-they-mean-anything). Key to Truvada's long-term shelf date is making sure it is stored correctly, meaning keeping it at room temperature, 68F to 77F (20C to 25C) (https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/drugs/406/truvada/0/patient).

I hope that helps!