As a relatively recent addition to the prepper society, I am a HUGE fan of everything and anything on SurvivalBlog.com and all things James Wesley, Rawles. Kudos on all that you, JWR, and the team do on a daily basis. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. I glean and digest all of the information that I can from the website and JWR’s novels. I am currently reading Expatriates and have already read and passed around to friends and family Patriots, Survivors, Founders, and How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It. I take the information in all forms from the website and books very seriously and try to pack it all away in my mind for the day that it may be needed. (Knowledge weighs nothing.) I believe many of your other regular readers may do the same.
Therefore, I felt compelled to write to you, as a pharmacist, when I noticed possibly dangerous information in one of the recent posts. In Dr. Koelker’s article regarding prepping and medicines, the first article of her list states that:
“When stored according to manufacturer directions, pills, tablets, and dry powders are likely safe and effective for years beyond their printed expiration dates. (The Shelf Life Extension Program has confirmed this for many drugs, including several antibiotics.)”
There is a class of antibiotics known as tetracyclines. It includes tetracycline (no longer available), doxycycline, minocycline, and many others that aren’t as widely used. If this particular class of medications is taken after expiration, it can cause a very dangerous condition known as Fanconi Syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal kidney disease. Liver damage (hepatotoxicity) could also occur with outdated tetracyclines.
The reason that I mention this is because this class of medications is also used first-line in the treatment of tick-borne illnesses and could be the first medication on a prepper’s list. It can also be used to treat certain skin infections, which is another reason to (in theory) stock up on this medication.
In a SHTF scenario, Fanconi Syndrome would almost certainly be fatal. Treatment might not be readily available. Trying to survive only to have your preparations kill you seems counterproductive.
While I agree with most of the points in Dr. Koelker’s article, I wanted to make sure that the readers of SurvivalBlog.com are safe and secure in their preparations. I know that if something in another article were incorrect, I would want someone to point it out, especially if it were potentially dangerous.
Again, thanks for all that you do. Happy Prepping! – MDS, Pharm.D.