You’re hold a bottle of prescription medicine or sneeze syrup or ibuprofen, notification that that expired last month (or year) and also you wonder … how bad can it be if ns take this? and if you’re really no feeling well, that possibility seems a lot much more attractive 보다 driving the end to a pharmacy because that a fresh bottle.

You are watching: Can i take expired cough medicine

Don’t it is in tempted, the U.S. Food and also Drug management (FDA) advises. End time, medications can readjust in chemical composition and become contaminated with bacteria or mold.


“Past the expiration date, over there is no guarantee the medication in quiet safe and effective,” claimed Alex Luli, PharmD, pharmacist and also scientific researches assistant clinical professor at Skaggs school of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical sciences at UC san Diego. “What’s more, product labeling is constantly gift updated, so there might be new dosing recommendations or important brand-new warnings that weren’t top top the old packaging.”

That’s particularly important for medications that act life-threatening or chronic conditions, such together blood thinners, insulin or nitroglycerin.

“These need to be 100 percent effective, for this reason the potential aftermath of acquisition a gamble with an expired medicine are simply too great,” Luli said.

Old antibiotics should additionally be discarded, that said. While no necessarily life-threatening in the short-term, making use of a partial sheep or partially-effective antibiotics can contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But what about expired over-the-counter cough and cold medicines? Luli stated he it s okay asked about those many often.

“In part cases, it might be okay. I commonly tell people that expired cough drugs are likely safe, but might not work-related as well.” Luli said. “So shot it, and if doesn’t relieve symptoms, obtain a new one. Likewise, if the aspirin you need for a headache and also it’s 2 months past expiration, it’s more than likely fine, yet may not work as intended.”

What you have the right to do

To aid your medications last as lengthy as possible, Luli proposal storing them in a cool, dry, dark place.

“Heat, light and also moisture can all degrade medications,” the said. “So the most typical places world store their drugs — the bathroom and the kitchen — aren’t ideal as result of humidity and heat exposure. A hall closet would be the best, as long as the drugs are the end of reach of kids and also pets, the course.”

Luli additionally recommends consistently clearing out your cupboards, safely disposing of expired medicines to reduce the temptation later. Leftover opioid medications sitting about the residence are especially worrisome, as they can inspire misuse and also theft. Come deter opioid-seekers, professionals advise mixing unneeded pills v kitty litter, coffee grounds or bleach to do them unappetizing prior to discarding them. You can contact your sheriff’s department to learn about “prescription take back” program in your area. In ~ UC san Diego, patients deserve to discard personal, unused prescription opioids with MedSafe, a secure collection bin located in the Pain monitoring Clinic in the Koman family Outpatient Pavilion at UC mountain Diego in La Jolla.

Luli motivates patients to speak to their pharmacists or other treatment providers if they have any type of questions about their medications.

See more: What Is The Level Of Measurement For Year Of Birth Level Of Measurement

“We can assist you work-related through the issue, and also personalize a setup for you,” Luli said.