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Can You Still Take Expired Allergy Medicine

Medications You Should Never Use If Expired

Are expired medications safe to take?

Some medications, especially those taken to treat critical health issues, should always be taken before the manufacturers expiration date because they can break down quickly after expiring. Examples of these medications are nitroglycerin, insulin, EpiPens, antibiotics, and birth control.

There are no studies that show using these medications after their expiration date causes serious harm. The risk is related to how effective the medication is. Taking them after their expiration dates could cause a serious health risk or consequence because the medications are not as effective.

Examples of medications you should always take within the expiration date:

Various eye conditions and illnesses Can become contaminated with bacteria and lead to eye infections, such as pink eye .
Birth control Pregnancy prevention, monthly bleeding regulation, acne, and other hormone-related conditions Not as effective after the expiration date. Lower effectiveness could lead to unwanted pregnancies, breakthrough bleeding, and spotting.

Dr Oz: What Is The Best Way To Store Medications

Pharmacist Suzy Cohens final rule when it comes to medications and expiration dates pertains to those that come in food form, like gummy vitamins, calcium chews and probiotics. She says the food part can literally go bad and if this happens it is time to throw out the item.

One of the most important things to remember when taking medications, is to properly store them and absolutely never carry them loose in your pocket or purse because that will cause them to go bad quickly.

Why You Shouldnt Take Expired Medication

There are other safety concerns attached to using expired medication. According to the FDA, certain medications are made without additional preservatives. These meds are more at risk for bacterial growth, which can often be unseen or undetected until after the medication has been administered.

Having expired medications sitting around the house can also lead to them being accidentally ingested by a child, household pet, or in some cases, both at once. Thus, its important to properly dispose of these medications.

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Regularly Replace Eye Drops

Any product that comes in contact with the eyes, such as drops or mists, should be replaced as soon as they expire.

“Aerosol products may get contaminated over time,” Langdon said. “Eyes are especially susceptible to bacterial contamination.”

Though it’s safe to keep eye drops that have not expired, you should take special care to keep the packaging clean.

What Should I Know About Stopping Montelukast Can I Safely Stop Taking It

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Montelukast oral tablets dont usually cause any harmful effects when you stop taking them.

At the end of a 12-week clinical study, people who stopped montelukast oral tablets for asthma didnt report any rebound asthma. So if youre taking montelukast oral tablets to treat asthma, stopping this drug shouldnt make your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse.

Rarely, there have been reports of serious mood and behavior problems in people who took montelukast. These were mostly reported during montelukast treatment, but some were reported after the drug was stopped. If you or those around you notice any changes in your mood or behavior after you stop taking montelukast, call your doctor right away.

Its important to talk with your doctor before stopping montelukast oral tablets. They may suggest other treatments for your condition.

Recommended Reading: What Allergy Medicine Is Stronger Than Zyrtec

Which Medications Are Unsafe After Their Expiration Date

There’s really no way to know if a drug is safe unless its tested for potency, but here are some common sense measures:

  • Insulin is used to control blood sugar in diabetes and may be susceptible to degradation after its expiration date.
  • Oral nitroglycerin , a medication used for angina , may lose its potency quickly once the medication bottle is opened.
  • Vaccines, biologicals or blood products could also be subject to quick degradation once the expiration date is reached.
  • Tetracycline may produce a toxic metabolite, but this controversial among researchers.8
  • Medicines that looks old: powdery or crumbling medicine, drugs with a strong smell, or dried up medicine should always be discarded, expired or not.
  • Any injectable medication, especially if cloudy, discolored or with visible floating particles.

Montelukast Oral Tablet And Pregnancy

Montelukast oral tablets arent known to be harmful during pregnancy. Clinical studies of the drugs use during pregnancy havent shown an increased risk of birth abnormalities .

Montelukast treatment comes with other possible risks, such as serious behavior or mood changes.* Depending on your condition and its severity, your doctor will help you decide if a different treatment option might be better for you during pregnancy.

If youre pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They can guide you on safely treating your condition during pregnancy.

* See Serious behavior or mood changes in the Montelukast oral tablet side effects section above for details.

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What Is The Proper Way To Dispose Of Unused Or Expired Zyrtec Products

Do NOT dispose of any ZYRTEC® product by emptying it into your sink, toilet or storm drain. Check to see if your pharmacy or community has a take-back program in which you can drop off your expired or unused medicine for them to dispose for you. Otherwise, place your medicine in an unmarked, sealed container and dispose of the container in your household trash. Visit the FDA website for more information.

Is It Dangerous To Take Expired Medicine

Can You Take Expired Drugs?

When you have a splitting headache but realize the ibuprofen expired a year ago…

You have a throbbing headache and open up the bathroom vanity to grab some acetaminophen or naproxen, only to realize those over-the-counter pain meds expired more than a year ago. Do you still take them? Run out to the store? Sit there and suffer? Consider this:

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Does Allergy Medicine Expire Yes But It May Still Be Effective

  • Allergy medicine expires, but it may still be effective for up to two or more years after the expiration date.
  • Liquid allergy medicine, such as nasal sprays, tend to expire earlier than antihistamine tablets, and they will lose effectiveness more quickly after expiring.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, otolaryngologist and laryngologist at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Eye, Ear & Skull Base Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.
  • This story is part of Insider’s guide to Seasonal Allergies.

Yes, allergy medicine will expire eventually. However, depending on the type of medication, you may still get some relief after the expiration date has passed.

Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamine tablets tend to stay effective longer than liquid medicines, such as corticosteroid nasal sprays.

Here’s what you need to know about when the different types of allergy medicine expire and how long after they may still be effective to take.

Can You Take Medicine After The Expiration Date

According to an advanced practice nurse, the answer really depends.

Most of us have several over-the-counter and prescription medicines stored for safe keeping in our bathroom cabinets: prescribed pills from previous injuries and hospital stays, tablets of allergy relief medicine and decongestants, and bottles of aspirin we’ve brought home after getting an unexpected headache at work. Those medications have expiration dates stamped on them, but how important are they? Is it ever safe to take a pain pill that has an expiration date of a week, a month, or even a year ago?

Pharmaceutical expiration dates are not like the expiration dates you will find on fresh vegetables, meats, or dairy products. Unlike perishable foods, many medications do not spoil or “go bad” in the sense that we usually think of when we talk about expiration dates. When it comes to majority of your medications, the expiration is only the last date that the pharmaceutical company can guarantee its potency. “So, they never really recommend taking medicines after expiration dates,” says Kari Sierant, an advanced practice nurse based in New Jersey. “They want to make sure that you get the full potency and safe medication, and that is why they make expiration dates.”

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Do Antihistamines Lose Effectiveness

The causes for the diminished effect of antihistamine drugs are far less clear. The bulk of evidence will tell you that drug tolerance does not occur no matter how long or aggressively the drugs are used. If anything, their prolonged use will reduce a persons tolerance to their side effects, particularly drowsiness.

Look For Visual Clues


If a pill crumbles in your hand, it’s probably best not to take it. But there are subtler clues, too, like smell: Too-old aspirin, for example, smells like vinegar. “Be suspicious of anything that looks out of the ordinary,” says Negrete. Faded dyes or funny smells may not actually mean the drug is less potent, but they’re clues that something’s decomposinga good reason to get a new bottle.

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A Place For Everything

Proper storage is one way to help make sure your medicines will remain safe and effective up to their expiration date. Be sure to read the label to see if there are specific storage instructions for your medicine. Certain medicines need to be stored in the refrigerator and others cannot be exposed to high temperatures. Improper storage such as a damp bathroom cabinet can contribute to decreased effectiveness in medicines that have not reached their posted expiration date. For most medicines, to help ensure the proper shelf life of your medicine, it is better to store medicine in a cool, dry place such as a dresser drawer, storage box, closet shelf, or kitchen cabinet.

When storing medicine in a kitchen cabinet make sure that it is away from hot appliances and the sink due to changing temperatures and humidity, which can affect the medicine. When storing medicine in a high traffic area, like a kitchen, care should be taken to prevent access by children at risk of accidental poisoning or others who may be tempted to take for abuse/misuse.

Remember to store medicines properly and dont use expired medicines — its not worth the risk!

Is Expired Allegra Safe

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  • Use Ibuprofen Within 4 To 5 Years Of Opening

    Does Medicine Expire?

    Ibuprofen in tablet form, which brands including Advil sell, is at its most potent within four to five years of opening, but it’s safe to consume for many years after.

    Dr. Kim Langdon, a clinical adviser at digital-health startup Medzino, told INSIDER that liquid suspensions of ibuprofen are “more susceptible to contamination” and that they should be refrigerated. “The expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary and required by regulations, but the most significant risk is that they lose effectiveness over time rather than a safety issue,” Langdon said.

    Store liquid and tablet ibuprofen in a cool, dry space away from sunlight.

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    Montelukast Oral Tablet And Birth Control

    Montelukast oral tablets arent known to cause harmful effects during pregnancy. But montelukast treatment comes with other possible risks, such as serious behavior or mood changes.*

    You may want to consider these risks if youre sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. If so, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while youre taking montelukast oral tablets.

    For more information about taking montelukast oral tablets during pregnancy, see the Montelukast oral tablet and pregnancy section above.

    * See Serious behavior or mood changes in the Montelukast oral tablet side effects section above for details.

    How To Use Wal

    Take this medication by mouth usually once daily or take as directed by your doctor. Take with a full glass of water. Do not crush or chew this medication. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.

    Do not increase your dose or take this more often than directed.

    Do not take this medication for several days before allergy testing since test results can be affected. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

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    When Do Antihistamines Expire

    Antihistamines, one of the main types of allergy medicine, can be safe to use after the expiration date.

    For over-the-counter medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec, the listed expiration dates are typically around two and a half years after manufacturing. Expiration dates for prescription antihistamines are around one year, according to New Jersey-based pharmacist Kristin Frank.

    OTC and prescription tablets are similar in makeup, and therefore can last the same amount of time. But prescriptions, , cannot have longer than one-year expiration dates.

    All allergy medicines are regulated by the FDA, which takes a strict, no-leeway stance on expired medicine for utmost safety and effectiveness. But a 2012 study in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal found that expired medicines, including antihistamines, can remain effective for decades.

    The researchers studied the active ingredients in a set of decades-old drugs. Twelve of the 14 medications tested, including the antihistamine, retained full potency for at least 28 years. So why do antihistamines have a one-to-two-year shelf life?

    According to Frank, manufacturers suggest expiration dates based on how long the active ingredients can stay potent. Manufacturers submit this research, which factors in storage variables like heat and humidity, when applying for drug approval to the FDA.

    What Happens If You Take Expired Allergy Medicine

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    The active part of the drug, the part that creates the bodys response, would slowly break down over time and make it ineffective, says Frank. Taking expired medicine then becomes like taking a placebo. It probably wont help you. Thats why after the expiration date, the manufacturer wont guarantee efficacy.

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    Does Montelukast Cause Weight Gain Or Increased Blood Pressure

    It shouldnt. In clinical studies, montelukast oral tablets werent reported to cause weight gain or increased blood pressure.

    Steroid treatments for asthma, such as prednisone, may cause weight gain or increased blood pressure. But montelukast isnt a steroid.

    Your prescription label for montelukast oral tablets might refer to montelukast as montelukast sodium. These names refer to the same drug. Sodium is an inactive ingredient that helps the drug dissolve and be absorbed into your body. Montelukast oral tablets dont contain a significant amount of sodium.

    If you have high blood pressure or edema , your doctor may have told you to limit your sodium intake. But taking montelukast oral tablets wont affect these conditions. It shouldnt increase your blood sodium levels, weight, or blood pressure.

    Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about weight gain or increased blood pressure with montelukast oral tablets.

    Is Montelukast Used For Hives

    Montelukast isnt approved to treat hives.

    Montelukast oral tablets are sometimes prescribed off-label for hives. Off-label drug use is when a drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what its approved for.

    Some studies have tested montelukasts effectiveness for chronic hives. In 2014, researchers of montelukast for chronic hives. They concluded that there wasnt enough strong evidence to recommend for or against montelukast for hives treatment.

    If you have questions about montelukast for hives, talk with your doctor.

    Recommended Reading: What Allergy Medicine Is Stronger Than Zyrtec

    How To Properly Dispose Of Expired Medications

    If you do have expired medication, there are several ways you can dispose of it. If you still have the label information that came with the medication, you can look for specific instructions the manufacturer may have provided about how to dispose of it safely. However, not all medications have this information included.

    According to the FDA, disposing of your medications at a drug take-back location is the safest way to get rid of old medications. Many health systems, police departments, and community pharmacies offer unused medication drop boxes where you can simply place any medications to be disposed of in the bin.

    The federal Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors National Drug Take-Back Days, where extra drop-off locations are available twice a year to dispose of unwanted medications. These take-back days typically happen at the end of April and October. You can search for a year-round medication disposal location near you on the DEA website.

    If youre not able to discard your medications at a take-back location, there are still ways you can safely get rid of them. To dispose of medications in the trash, the FDA recommends mixing them with an undesirable substance like kitty litter, dirt, or used coffee grounds, sealing the mixture in a bag, and throwing the sealed bag in the trash. Do not crush tablets or open capsules before mixing them with the dirt, kitty litter, or other substance.


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