Does Allergy Medication Expire? Sure, however It Could Nonetheless Be Efficient


  • Allergy medication expires, however it might nonetheless be efficient for as much as two or extra years after the expiration date. 
  • Liquid allergy medication, resembling nasal sprays, are likely to expire sooner than antihistamine tablets, and they’ll lose effectiveness extra shortly after expiring. 
  • This text was medically reviewed by Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, otolaryngologist and laryngologist on the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Eye, Ear & Cranium Base Middle at Windfall Saint John’s Well being Middle in Santa Monica, CA.
  • This story is a part of Insider’s information to Seasonal Allergic reactions.

Sure, allergy medication will expire ultimately. Nonetheless, relying on the kind of treatment, you should still get some reduction after the expiration date has handed.

Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamine tablets have a tendency to remain efficient longer than liquid medicines, resembling corticosteroid nasal sprays. 

This is what you have to learn about when the various kinds of allergy medication expire and the way lengthy after they might nonetheless be efficient to take. 

When do antihistamines expire? 

Antihistamines, one of many most important varieties of allergy medication, will be secure to make use of after the expiration date. 

For over-the-counter medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec, the listed expiration dates are usually round two and a half years after manufacturing. Expiration dates for prescription antihistamines are round one 12 months, based on New Jersey-based pharmacist Kristin Frank.

OTC and prescription tablets are comparable in make-up, and due to this fact can final the identical period of time. However prescriptions, by legislation, can’t have longer than one-year expiration dates. 

All allergy medicines are regulated by the FDA, which takes a strict, no-leeway stance on expired medication for utmost security and effectiveness. However a 2012 research within the JAMA Inner Medication Journal discovered that expired medicines, together with antihistamines, can stay efficient for many years. 

The researchers studied the lively components in a set of decades-old medication. Twelve of the 14 medicines examined, together with the antihistamine, retained full efficiency for at the very least 28 years. So why do antihistamines have a one-to-two-year shelf life?

Based on Frank, producers counsel expiration dates based mostly on how lengthy the lively components can keep potent. Producers submit this analysis, which components in storage variables like warmth and humidity, when making use of for drug approval to the FDA. 

By the point medication attain shoppers, they might have been saved in circumstances inflicting lively components to deteriorate, resembling excessive temperatures, based on the FDA. 

“The lively a part of the drug, the half that creates the physique’s response, would slowly break down over time and make it ineffective,” says Frank. “Taking expired medication then turns into like taking a placebo. It in all probability will not provide help to.”

That is why after the expiration date, the producer will not assure efficacy. However total, antihistamines can nonetheless be efficient for years after their expiration date. Simply understand that when you get two or three years previous expiration, there is a increased likelihood that it is now not efficient. 

Liquid allergy medication and nasal sprays expire earlier

Whereas most antihistamines are tablets, corticosteroids are in liquid type, and used to deal with signs like itchy noses, sneezing, and nasal congestion. 

Corticosteroid nasal sprays will be over-the-counter, like Flonase, or by prescription, like Nasonex. They include preservatives to maintain the liquids contemporary longer. 

Prescription liquid medication expiration dates are now not than one 12 months, by legislation, though generally the producer units the shelf life at six months or earlier. Expiration dates for over-the-counter liquids are normally round two years. 

And liquid allergy medicines should not be stretched as far past their expiration dates as tablets, Frank says. 

Frank says nasal sprays, in addition to liquid types of antihistamines, can final for one 12 months past the bottle’s expiration date. After that, the efficacy dwindles. “Like tablets, these medication will not be unsafe when expired,” Frank says. “They will simply turn into ineffective.” 

To increase the efficiency of liquid medication like nasal sprays, Frank suggests maintaining them at room temperature. “Storing in a room that is too heat, in daylight, or colder like a fridge would make it go dangerous sooner,” she says.

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