Ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Health - Wellness
Does Ibuprofen Expire?
Ibuprofen can be a valuable treatment for headaches, menstrual cramps, fever, muscle aches, and pain, and to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. As with any other medicines, ibuprofen has an expiration date, but it can still be used even after it expires.
Dr. Jack Springer says, "The expiration date doesn't indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use." You may be able to take ibuprofen that's less than four or five years old and feel some relief, though it may not be as effective as ibuprofen that hasn't yet expired.
How the medicine is stored also affects its quality, and instead of using the medicine cabinet, keep the medicine in a dry, cool place, as condensation or moisture from showers can degrade the product. Additionally, light and excessive heat may break down the components faster.
As for liquid ibuprofen, Dr. Kim Langdon, a clinical adviser at Medzino, explained that they are more likely to become contaminated over time. Any time it is poured from the bottle to the measuring spoon, there is always a risk of microbes entering the medication and beginning to grow.
Medications vary, and many expired ones can be harmful, so it's always best to contact your physician and safely discard expired medicines. To dispose of expired ibuprofen, you can participate in a drug take-back program in your local area, or mix the medication with kitty litter or used coffee grounds and toss it in the trash, but never flush it down the toilet unless the packaging states otherwise.