Learn more about disposing of expired medications.
I had a bottle of Promethazine-Codeine syrup that is 10 months expired. Is still safe to take it?
I cannot recommend taking any medications that are beyond the expiration date.
Can I take out-of-date Zoloft and be OK?
I cannot recommend taking any medications that are beyond the expiration date.
Does Librax lose potency after it expires or does it become toxic like aspirin?
The product may not hurt you but it may not help you either. Librax is available generically and as such is not too costly. Properly dispose of all expired medications and those drugs you no longer take or have recently used.
Children's liquid antibiotic shows a one year expiration date. It also says to discard after 14 days. Why the two dates?
Generally speaking, pediatric antibiotics are sent to pharmacies in a powdered form. Once the pharmacy receives a prescription for this antibiotic, the powder is reconstituted with sterile or distilled water into a liquid suspension. These normally have a 10 to 14 day expiration, depending on the particular antibiotic. Normally the prescribed length of therapy is this 10 to 14 days.
I have azithromycin 250mg that expired 8/2011. Is it still OK to use?
I will not say that it is alright to take any medication that is expired, especially antibiotics.
Is it OK to take loratadine if it is 4 months expired?
I cannot recommend any expired medication to be used.
Is it OK to use children's expired, unopened acetaminophen?
I would never recommend someone to take expired acetaminophen (Tylenol).
My Wellbutrin expired 3 months ago. Is it still effective?
There are too many variables with storage of medications to by able to answer if this is still effective.
I accidentally took 2 expired hydrocodone/apap. Is that OK?
If you are able to read my response, you will be OK. The St. Louis County Police Department now has four medication collection boxes available 24/7 to dispose of old, expired medications:
What will happen if taken expired guaifenesin/codeine?
Your teeth will turn green and fall out, quickly followed by all of your hair! Now that I have your attention, I will only say that I will not suggest anyone take an expired medication. Have your physician refill your prescription.
Is it safe to take Flagyl two weeks after the expiration date?
Flagyl (metronidazole) is an antibiotic that should be taken until finished, unless otherwise instructed. Antibiotics should not be saved. Discard the expired Flagyl in a proper way.
I found some old azithromycin and promethazine. I know that you can donate expired meds to third world countries but how long past the expiration date is too long?
Any expired or medication no longer taken should be disposed of properly. Some pharmacies, hospitals and even police departments have medication disposal programs. Please check with your local pharmacy.
How long will dexamethasone last in a unopened bottle? Is it OK to store in a refrigerator?
Do not store dexamethasone (Decadron) in the refrigerator. It is meant to be kept at a constant room temperature. As with any medication, the product is good if stored properly until the expiration date on the label. After that, it should be disposed of properly.
My brother takes Aggrenox 200mg capsules. He has a supply with an expiration date of 2011. Is it safe for him to take?
I cannot recommend taking expired medications. If you are concerned about the cost of the Aggrenox, speak to your physician about it and perhaps changing the medication.
What harm can be caused by using expired saline fluids in an IV?
The expiration date is the end time the manufacture guarantees the product safe and effective. With IV products, the worry is with contamination. I cannot recommend using any product past the expiration date.
What will happen if I took EM-Balance that expired in 2008?
If you haven't had any bad effects by now, most likely nothing. Please properly dispose of any outdated or unused medications.
Is it safe to take Naproxen that is 2 years old?
Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) should have an expiration date on the bottle. If the product has been stored properly, away from heat and moisture with the lid tight, and the date has not passed, the naproxen should be fine. If the date has passed, properly dispose of this medication.
I have an unopened bottle of a generic acetaminophen which has an expiration date of March 2012. Would it be safe to take one?
The expiration date indicates it is safe and effective through the last day of March 2012. Properly discard after the last day of March.
What do you think when a general practitioner says medicine can be safely dispensed for three months after expiration date?
At the very least, this is unethical. I am licensed in the United States, where this is illegal.
Can expired Viagra be harmful, or is it just less effective?
I cannot tell you if this would be harmful or less effective. I cannot say anything more except to tell you that you should check your medications regularly and properly dispose of any outdated medication or products you no longer take.
I have a bottle of Augmentin that I got in 2009 but never used. The seal hasn't been broken on the bottle and it has no expiration date. Is it still good? I have been prescribed the same thing but don't have insurance and can't afford to get it filled. Can I use what I have?
I cannot recommend ever taking expired medications. Augmentin (amoxicillin clavulanic acid) comes in tablets and liquid. If yours is the liquid suspension, it is only good 10 days from the time it was reconstituted. If you are talking about tablets, the bottle should have a manufacturer's lot number and expiration date somewhere on the bottle. If the bottle has not expired, if the bottle was stored in the recommended conditions, and if the bottle is factory sealed -- the tablets should still be good.
As long as your new prescription is the same drug, the same strength and the same days' supply, you should be able to use these Augmentin tablets. If any of these conditions are not met, you should get a new bottle. Generic Augmentin is a very inexpensive antibiotic. The course of therapy should be taken to completion, and you should not have any remaining.
I just realized I took expired azithromycin. I know what you've said about that being a bad idea, but I've already taken the first dose (6 months expired), it's been stored in a sealable plastic bag in original packaging in a sealed container. I don't have a doctor anymore, so I can't get a new prescription. Should I finish the package since I've already started?
You raise a number of important issues.
- Please find a new physician. Everyone should have a doctor to contact in time of medical need.
- Everyone should check their medications every year (if not every 6 months) for expired medications and medications that are no longer being taken.
- If prescribed for you, an antibiotic -- especially a short-term dosage like azithromycin (Z-pak, Zithromax) -- is meant to be taken until finished. The full course of the treatment is the entire prescription. Don't save antibiotics for the next infection.
- If you have had this drug stored long enough for it to be 6 months expired, you have had this for a while. Without an adequate exam, there is no way to tell if this antibiotic would be helpful for your current problem. Different antibiotics are used to treat different infections.
No, this drug most likely will not hurt you after one outdated dose, but properly dispose of the rest, and please find a new physician.
How long does it take for Glucophage to expire?
There is an expiration date on every bottle of Glucophage (metformin). The prescription vial may have a date that is different than the original manufacturer's bottle. You could call the pharmacy to find out the date on the bottle used to dispense your prescription. This date is the last date the manufacturer will guarantee potency of the medication. This is valid if stored to the specifications of the product. I would not suggest taking any drug past its expiration date. Get a new bottle if it is expired.
Is it safe to drink Ensure past the expiration date?
I would never suggest eating anything that is past the expiration date.
Is metformin still good after it has expired?
Discard properly any medication that has expired.
Is it safe to take promethazine dm after the expiration date?
I do not recommend taking any medication beyond the expiration date. Contact your physician if you have symptoms that require prescription treatment.
Is C-Phen DM good after 8 months?
Generally, unless there is an expiration date placed on the label from the pharmacy, C-Phen DM (chlorpheniramine, dextromethorphan, phenylephrine) would be "good" for a year, if stored properly. Contact the pharmacy you obtained the drug from and ask for the expiration of the bottle that was used to fill your prescription. This would be an inexpensive medicine to replace with new, if you are concerned.
I have unopened azithromycin tablets that expired 4 months ago. Are they safe?
Expired antibiotics should not be used. First, you may not have the same infection and if that is the case, this is not the correct antibiotic. Second, the manufacturer does not guarantee the potency beyond the date on the label. Talk with your physician if you feel you have an infection.
I have a prescription from 2008 for Hydrocodone. Is it safe to take if it expired in January 2009?
No. You should properly dispose of this medication. Contact your physician to discuss a pain reliever for you.
I have some Mucinex Full Force Nasal spray that expired in April 2009. I used it last night before noticing the expiration date. It has been properly stored in my medicine cabinet, so do you think it's still okay?
No. Mucinex Full Force Nasal (oxymetazoline hydrochloride) is a decongestant, as opposed to the oral Mucinex (guaifenesin) that is an expectorant. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, do not use the nasal spray without speaking to your doctor first. If your "medicine cabinet" is in the bathroom, do not keep your medications there. Temperature and humidity in bathrooms is usually too high for the recommended storage conditions. It most likely won't hurt you, it may be less effective, but in any case get a new bottle. Properly dispose of the expired container.
Can azithromycin cause harm to you if taken 15 months after the expiration date?
First, you should never have leftover azithromycin -- when it is prescribed, it should be taken until completed following the instructions on the label. I would never suggest taking any outdated antibiotics. Even under the best conditions, what you have is more than a year old. Even if the drug wouldn't hurt you, the cause you want to take this for now may be completely different. Call your doctor.
What would happen if you take outdated amoxicillin?
You should not have outdated amoxicillin!! You should always take your antibiotics until completion. Properly discard any outdated medications and drugs you no longer take or need. I would not take outdated antibiotics.
I took a capsule of pre pro (streptococcus faecalls, clostridiuuk butyricum and lacto bacilis) that expired six months ago. What will happen?
Most likely nothing. These are common bacteria used to restore the GI function and motility. I would consult with the place you purchased this product.
I have a prescription for hydrocodone and naproxen sodium from May 2008. The bottles say expired May 2009. I have a few left in each bottle. Would they be safe to finish? They have been stored in the towel closet.
Any prescription that old should be properly disposed of, not just because of the possible loss of potency, but because the condition of the medication may be different than from what it was 1-1/2 years ago.
Can you take azithromycin after the expiration date? It expired in May 2009?
I will not suggest taking expired medications, especially antibiotics. And you should never have expired azithromycin!! You should always finish your antibiotics. The infection this time may be caused by a different organism and the azithromycin would be ineffective, even if you had the proper amount for the full course of dosage.
I took one Nabumetone 750 mg solid capsule that expired 11 months ago. Is this toxic?
Every year you should go through your medications and properly dispose of anything expired or that you no longer take. The NSAID nabumetone (Relafen) is an acetic acid based drug that would have very limited possibilities of causing toxic reactions (unless you are allergic). There is very little human data regarding the toxic effects of nabumetone. The most common problems would be GI in nature the most frequent is nausea, vomiting and in severe overdoses, bleeding ulcers. I always recommend taking NSAIDs with food or milk. Never take expired medications.
I took expired Robitussin that was a year old, what should I do?
Drink plenty of water, dispose of the bottle properly and purchase a new bottle of Robitussin (guaifenesin) -- in that order. Then go through all of your medication and properly dispose of any that is out-of-date or has not been used in six months or longer.
I have a bottle of hydrocodone that was filled in 10/07 but has no expiration date. It was stored in a cool dark room and the bottle hardly ever opened. Would it still be good? The reason for this prescription was given has "arisen" again.
Currently, the only approved hydrocodone available is in combination with other drugs, most commonly acetaminophen. I would be more concerned with the acetaminophen being expired by almost 2 years. Properly dispose of the bottle you have and contact your doctor to find out if the reason is the same again as several years ago.
Can I take Norflex 100 mg (muscle relaxer) that expired in 2002? Also, what are the risks?
Norflex (orphenadrine) is a relatively old muscle pain reliever that also has anti-cholinergic properties. The mechanism of action is still not fully understood. I cannot answer what the risks of taking a seven-year expired pain reliever would be. I will suggest disposing of the drug properly. The most common side effects of Norflex is loss of mental alertness, loss of coordination, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth nausea and vomiting.
Are there concerns with taking Viagra that is outdated by one year? It has not been opened and has been stored at room temperature?
I understand that Viagra (sildenafil) is an expensive medication, but I cannot suggest that you take any medication that is expired. Do not take Viagra with any alpha blocker or nitrate medication. Inform all your health care providers that you may occasionally take Viagra.
What is the useful life of Avandia and the expiration time in which it can be used? Does it present changes in its pharmacological structure?
The last package of Avandia (rosiglitazone) that our pharmacy received has an expiration date 28 months away. That means that this drug, in the original bottle, stored properly, is good for 28 months. Rosiglitazone maleate is an oral antidiabetic drug of the thiazolidinedione class. It is an insulin sensitizing agent that primarily activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR(gamma)) nuclear receptors, thereby, enhancing peripheral glucose utilization and improving glycemic control. It is also involved in the regulation of fatty acid metabolism. It is metabolized in the liver via the P450 CYP2C8 and CYP2C9 pathways, then undergoing N-demethylation, hydroxylation and conjugation. So it appears the structure is changed during the elimination process. This medication also has a black box warning. Avandia may cause or worsen congestive heart failure, is not recommended in patients with symptomatic heart failure, and is contraindicated in patients with established NYHA Class III or IV heart failure. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of heart failure after initiation or dose increases and if heart failure occurs, consider dose reducing or discontinuing rosiglitazone maleate and manage according to current standards of care. Overall, the available data on the risk of myocardial ischemia is inconclusive. Take this drug as prescribed and notify your physician of any unusual side effects or problems.
I see the strong emphasis you place on not using -- and discarding -- expired medication, but what is your opinion of the U.S. military study that found under recommended storage conditions that many medications maintain potency/safety for up to 9-15 years past the manufacturer's set expiration date? I know there are a few exceptions, such as tetracycline (which becomes harmful after expiration) and nitroglycerine (which loses potency very quickly once opened or removed from its original container).
There are two main causes for deterioration of medications: humidity and temperature. A lot of medications -- stored in controlled proper conditions -- can be effective and not harmful well beyond the expiration date. But I do not know how every person stores their medicines. There are many drugs that I would not risk taking myself beyond the expiration date. I also know that most people do not store medications properly. As a point of safety, I will always recommend outdated medications to be properly discarded.
I have a bottle of Robitussin cough syrup that was stored in my car at cold temperatures. Would it still be OK to take? Also, it is three years old. It was only in my car for one year.
With the wide temperature fluctuation that occurs inside a car, I would recommend properly disposing of this bottle. Robitussin, or the generic guaifenesin, is not that expensive.
My Tylenol codeine is 10 months old. Can I still use it?
If there is no expiration date on the container and the drug was stored properly (at room temp, sealed container, low humidity), it is OK to use for up to one year. Check medications annually, and discard anything that has not been used in the last six months or is over a year old. Also check for expiration dates on bottles. Properly dispose of anything too old or out-of-date.
I have sertraline hci tablets 50 mg and don't know if I should take them because they are over a year old.
You should properly dispose of any outdated or expired medications. But why do you have this old drug sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft)? This is bothersome, as this type of medication should not be just started or stopped without medical supervision. This type of drug is not taken as needed, but must be taken regularly to have the proper effects. Talk to the physician who originally ordered this drug, if you have not been taking this as prescribed.
I took the wrong amoxicillin bottle. I had one that expired in the same cabinet and took that one by mistake. Should I expect side effects?
Two not-so-good things have happened. You did not take the original amoxicillin until finished. And, you do not check for old medications on a regular basis. That being said, you should be fine. Take the new amoxicillin prescription until it is finished. Go through the cabinet containing the medicine and check dates. Get rid (properly dispose) of anything you are not currently taking. If you have things you are unsure about, take them to your pharmacy and have the pharmacist review your medications with you.
I have some Zithromax that expired in March 2008. Can I still take it and will it be effective?
Whether it is still effective is not the issue. You should always take antibiotics until completion unless explicitly told otherwise by your physician. In short, you should never have expired Zithromax! Taking too short a course of antibiotics may cause more harm than good. This is one of the causes of the "super bugs" we now have in the world. If you feel you need an antibiotic, contact your physician.
I do not take Donnatal, but I have a friend who does. A bottle he had was quite old (it's the green elixir). I know it is not a good idea to take expired medications in general, but I was wondering if any chemical reaction could occur or perhaps the alkaloids could become harmful or toxic after long periods?
I am more concerned with mold-yeast-bacterial growth in old liquids. Any old liquid should be properly discarded.
I gave my child expired Children's Motrin by mistake . . . what will happen?
You will properly dispose of the expired Motrin and purchase a new bottle and give the child the proper doses, as needed, based on the directions on the bottle.
Does hydrocodone go bad?
Any drug, improperly stored, may lose its effectiveness. Certain drugs, if exposed to moisture, can break down. If this was stored properly and past the expiration date, it may have lost some effectiveness. Dispose of the product and go to your doctor.
What would happen if I take my expired Ritalin? I haven't taken it in three years.
Do not take three-year-old medication. If your doctor has prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) for you to take again, have the new prescription filled at your pharmacy. Properly dispose of the old medication.
Does Librax go bad after expiration, as in could it make you ill? Or does it only lose some of its potency? Mine expired a year and a half ago . . . take it or not?
A year and a half is a long time outdated. I would contact the pharmacy where the prescription was filled to see how long the shelf life is on the product they gave to you. Always check your medications for expiration dates -- at least once a year. Properly discard any outdated items you find.
Is it safe to take metformin that is one year past the expiration date?
Metformin is a potent drug used to treat diabetes. This drug comes with a FDA Black Box Warning that in part says "Lactic acidosis is a rare, but serious, metabolic complication that can occur due to metformin accumulation during treatment with metformin hydrochloride; when it occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50 percent of cases. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with renal impairment, increased age, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, hepatic insufficiency, and other conditions whenever there is significant tissue hypoperfusion and hypoxemia." Metformin is a reasonably inexpensive medication and should be discarded if expired.
Does hydrocodone cough syrup lose potency over time or after expiration?
Just like any product with a "shelf life" any prescription product may lose some potency over time. The one concern I have with any type of syrup, is that once open, the sugary base can breed or grow things you may not want to ingest. Dispose of your expired medications. I recommend checking your medication supply every year and disposing of any that are old, out-of-date or you do not take any more.
Does Bella alk/pb or Donnatal have any effect after expiration of one year?
If you are referring to a generic Donnatal tablet, the manufacturer cannot guarantee 100 percent potency, but will most likely cause no harm. Take this only if it is prescribed for you. You may want to call the pharmacy where you obtained this prescription. They may be able to give you some idea of how long your particular tablets are good.
My auntie has cancer. Once in awhile she gets pain meds that are discolored from white to a little off-white and are very hard to break. Usually the ones that are hard to break are old. It makes my aunt sick. How do we protect her from outdated meds? I tell her ask for a sealed bottle.
Does your auntie obtain her medicines from one pharmacy? Can you go speak with the pharmacist? There could be more than one brand of the medication, if it is a generic. At home, the medications should be kept in a cool dry spot -- not in the bathroom, refrigerator, or near the stove or sink. Have the pharmacy place the expiration date on the label. Some pharmacies will dispense prescriptions in the sealed factory bottles. You may have to ask for this. I would hope that no pharmacy would dispense outdated tablets. One reason to have only one pharmacy and to know the pharmacist is when problems such as this occur. If you ever notice a change in any medication from one bottle to the next, always ask the pharmacist before taking the questionable meds. Always ask questions!
My 2-year-old grandson has constant bronchitis (one doctor says it's asthma). His mother sends expired meds when he comes for visits. (Three week stays, every other three weeks.) We keep taking him to the hospital to get a new prescription. I'm concerned she's giving him the expired meds when she has him. How serious can this be?
You are asking how to change the behavior of another adult regarding the health and safety of a child, a third person in this equation. The bottom line is that you should not give expired medications to anyone, much less a 2-year-old dependent, innocent child. Medications in the home should be checked at least once a year for expirations. Prescription products, particularly antibiotics, should be taken until completion -- or they won't work properly (unless prescribed differently). With the privacy laws today, I do not know how to answer this question to your satisfaction. Sit down and speak with the mother in a nonthreatening, nonaccusatory manner and offer your help to take care of the child's medication. You must be willing to accept that she may not want your help.
What happens if a person consumes one of the three doses of Zithromax, but the drug is expired?
Taking expired antibiotics is unwise, as they may lose their effectiveness over time.
Is expired cough syrup -- promethazine with codeine -- bad to take?
Discard outdated cough or cold medication. Get a new prescription, and get fresh cough medicine.
How long past the expiration date is it safe to use Claritin?
About 15 seconds. I do not recommend taking any medication past its expiration date. It may not hurt you, but it also may not be as effective. So, what's the point? I would also suggest you try the generic (loratadine) and save some money.
Is it OK to take outdated Hydroco/APAP?
This combination pain reliever has acetaminophen (generic Tylenol). Never take expired acetaminophen. This can be a liver-toxic drug.
How do I dispose of Tylenol suspension?
You can dispose of liquid Tylenol (acetaminophen) by placing it into a closable bag and take it to the St. Louis County or city hazardous waste disposal site. Since this is not a prescription drug, narcotic or antibiotic, you could run it through your garbage disposal with food waste or old milk. Never use expired Tylenol.
What is a safe method of disposing of expired prescription medicine?
The old method was to flush anything possible down the toilet. Now, federal guidelines offer:
Take unused, unneeded or expired drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash
Mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance (such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put them in nondescript containers (empty cans or sealable bags) before placing in trash. This will help ensure the drugs are not diverted
Flush drugs down the toilet ONLY if the label or patient information specifically instructs doing so
Take advantage of any community pharmaceutical take-back program that allows the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal
This information is from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
What is the best way to dispose of outdated stool softener capsules?
Place the capsules in water and mix with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Place in a bag and put in the trash, take to the county's hazardous waste program, or take to a pharmacy that participates in a drug destruction program.
What are the side effects for expired Robitussin?
Robitussin (guaifenesin) comes in many forms and can be mixed with several other drugs. If you have the plain Robitussin expectorant, you run the risk of the alcohol content breaking down, the flavor going bad and the active ingredient losing potency. Further, there can be bacterial/fungal growth in the product itself. Generic Robitussin is inexpensive. Get a new bottle and dispose of the expired.
Can I use expired saline nasal spray?
No. First -- over time, the water evaporates and the saline solution becomes more concentrated. This can irritate the mucosa. Second -- the protection from contamination can be reduced (depending on what preservative is used), causing all sorts of problems. Get a new bottle and dispose of the old properly.
Can Sudafed be taken after the expiration date?
No. The pseudoephedrine product is very inexpensive, and I would recommend you dispose of the old and get a new product that you know will work. If you have the syrup form, the preservative may not be stable, and the flavor could go bad.
My allergies are back and the Benadryl is dated January 2004. Can I still take it?
No. It may not provide the relief you would expect. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that is very inexpensive in the generic. Get a new bottle, and properly dispose of the old.
What will happen if I take a dose of hydrocodone that expired in 2002?
Do not take this expired drug. If this is the plain hydrocodone, most likely the effectiveness has been reduced. If this is the hydrocodone with acetaminophen, the acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver.
Can I take expired Tylenol with codeine that has been in the freezer?
Don't take this product. You have two problems with this situation: the drug has been improperly stored and would be unstable after freezing, and expired acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be toxic to the liver.
There is no expiration date on the prescription bottle, so are my hydroco pills still good?
With this type of drug (an analgesic), if there is no expiration date on the bottle, you can assume the product is good for a year from the date of dispensing. This is conditional on the storage of the bottle. It should be stored at room temperature away from heat and humidity.
For how long is hydrocodone good if the use-before date is 09/18/04? Is it still good?
Hydrocodone usually is in combination with acetaminophen (Tylenol). This product is 2.5 years past the date. I would not take it, especially if it has acetaminophen. Outdated (expired) acetaminophen can cause liver toxicity. Dispose of this old product.
Does Zithromax lose potency if stored too long?
Zithromax (azithromycin) is an antibiotic that comes in both liquid and tablet forms. The liquid should be reconstituted when you receive it. It does not need refrigeration and must be used within 10 days. The tablets should have an expiration date on the package. Do not take Zithromax past this date.
Does ibuprofen lose its potency?
Ibuprofen can lose its potency. You should correctly dispose of any outdated and expired medications.
Does Tylenol with codeine lose its potency over time? If so, does the Tylenol lose its potency, the codeine or both?
Tylenol with codeine does go bad. There should be an expiration date on the label. If it is beyond this date, dispose of the drug. Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause liver toxicity when it is expired. If there is not an expiration date on the bottle and the dispensed date is older than one year, dispose of the drug.