Do Sleeping Pills Expire?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all drugs, including sleeping pills, have an expiration date. They explain that it is important for drugs to have expiration dates because this tells the consumer how long the drug will retain its strength, purity, and quality when stored properly. If a drug has lost its potency, it may not have the desired effect. In addition, it may have broken down into compounds that could make a person ill.

Whenever a manufacturer applies for a new drug, they must conduct testing to determine how long that medication can remain stable. The FDA then verifies that the studies conducted by the manufacturer support their claims before the drug can be approved. Other-the-counter drugs must also undergo stability testing. The FDA also requires drug makers to submit a proposed method for storing the drug, which will maintain the quality of the drug until the expiration date.

Is it dangerous to take sleeping pills after the expiration date?

Dr. Kim Langdon, a clinical adviser at Medzino, told INSIDER that taking an expired sleeping pill would carry a low risk of causing any problems. The main danger with expired sleeping pills is that they can become degraded and lose their potency over time, she explained. She cautioned that this could cause people to take an additional dose, leading to an accidental overdose. Langdon suggests replacing sleeping pills after they expire to avoid this risk. If possible, you should dispose of expired pills by visiting a drug take-back location or by following the FDA's instructions for disposal.

To keep your sleeping pills in their best condition until they pass their expiration date, GoodRx Health advises that heat and humidity are your biggest enemies. Although many people store their medications in a bathroom medicine cabinet, this is probably the worst place to put them. The heat and moisture from your shower can cause them to break down more quickly. You should store your medications in a cool, dry place, such as a kitchen cabinet, a dresser drawer, a closet shelf, or a storage box, unless the product packaging indicates otherwise.