Ventolin/salbutamol reliever nearly expired

My previous ""blue"" inhaler has just run out and when I went to the medicine cabinet, the other one I had turns out to be about to expire. The ""new"" (i.e. unused) inhaler is the same kind (blue Ventolin Evohaler of 100 micrograms salbutamol sulphate) was prescribed in December 2011 and is stamped to expire in June 2013. Is it still OK to use? When they expire do they just lose their effectiveness or are they actually harmful?

These days I am a light user of the reliever and often if I don't use it to relieve my symptoms I usually find they pass after about an hour if I just sit down and relax, so it's not desperately urgent, and I'll be getting a repeat prescription asap, but just wondered.

This is my first time on this forum btw so apologies if this is a commonly asked question, although I did have a search and couldn't seem to find it.

Thanks :)

9 Replies

  • Hi and welcome,

    If it says June 2013 it means it expires today so I would get a new prescription tomorrow as I wouldn't trust it is doing the job. Is your surgery good with doing same day prescriptions? I know with mine I can ring in the morning and pick it up after 5 or 5.30pm. You can also get a ventolin inhaler from the pharmacy where you normally get your prescriptions in an emergency, although I have never done this myself.

  • It would expire at the end of the month on the canister in the inhaler.

  • It would probably be ok, but I wouldn't use it tbh. Not worth it incase you have a bad attack and its less effective.

  • From NHS Choices

    What does the ‘expiry date’ mean?

    The expiry date usually means that you shouldn’t take the medicine after the end of the month given. So if the expiry date is ‘January 2015’, you shouldn’t take the medicine after January 31 2015.

    What does the ‘use by’ date mean?

    If your medicine has a use by or use before date instead of an expiry date, this usually means you shouldn’t take the medicine after the end of the previous month. So if the use by date is January 2015, you shouldn’t take the medicine after December 31 2014.

    If your doctor or pharmacist has given you any other instructions about using or disposing of your medicine, you should also follow these. For example, your pharmacist may label a medicine ‘discard seven days after opening’. You should take any medicine that’s left after this time back to your pharmacist to dispose of, even if it’s within the manufacturer’s expiry date.

  • Never had ventolin long enough to let them run out of date (lol!) but i know when i accidentally stored my fostair out of the fridge (as i didnt know they had to be) the pharmacist told me that it wouldnt harm me, but it probably wouldnt do as much good! so i would imagine its the same with out-of-date ventolin!!

  • I am sure it won't suddenly turn into a pumpkin overnight... however it may loose a bit of efficacy....

  • a friend of mine was telling me that last friday while she was at orchestra she was really struggling (and she's a flute player so really needs to be able to breathe!) and one of her orchestra friends who is a doctor actually gave her an out of date turbohaler that she happened to have in her medical bag to use and she said it actually seemed more effective than her ventolin :-o

    (not that i'm advocating you should always use expired turbohalers hahaha)

  • I read on a blog post by an American respiratory therapist who is also asthmatic that out of date Ventolin will not kill you, it will just taste a bit manky and not be as effective -so defo worth replacing but if you need it and it's all that's there it won't kill you to have it. Figured he should know given he is on both sides of the lung thing lol.

  • Hi all,

    Thanks very much for the responses! Yes I should've guessed really that on an asthma forum not many people would've experienced letting their inhaler expire ;-) Actually I forgot I had a turbohaler which was still in date albeit not used for a while so used that instead.

    Thanks again :-)

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