[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

When my daughter was over the other day during what has become a rare visit, I mentioned to her a talk I had with the pharmacist about the efficacy of an expired inhaler.  She gave me an odd look and repeated the word efficacy, at which time I asked if she knew what it meant.  She responded yes, but she’d never heard anyone use the word before.  Pronounced ˈe-fi-kə-sē, this noun means power or capacity to produce a desired effect; effectiveness.  Synonyms for efficacy include efficiency, competence, value, strength, usefulness, potency, productiveness and success.  A sample sentence other than the one I used above includes: Patients were concerned about the safety and efficacy of the season’s new flu vaccine.  Incidentally, when speaking with the pharmacist I learned that in the case of an inhaler, it’s more about the bacteria that can grow inside it following the expiration date versus the medication’s efficacy.

What is one thing in your life that has proven its efficacy time and time again?