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Asthma UK community forum
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Expired ventolin inhaler ok to use?

Hi everyone, I’m new here - will give a brief history....

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was about 18, was quite severe and ended up in hospital quite a few times before getting it under control. Gradually took less and less medication as it hasn’t been bothering me at all (except occasionally when I get a cold and I just use my ventolin as and when I feel I need it)

Anyway, tonight my chest feels tight and I’m finding it hard to catch my breath (I have a cold) and have dug out a ventolin inhaler only to find it’s a year out of date. Presumably it’s safe to take this as an emergency until I can get to a docs tomorrow? Would really appreciate any advice if anyone has any?

Thanks :) x

7 Replies

I honestly don’t know if there’s a specific reason not to take out of date inhalers, but I’ve done it many a time. Often without even realising. I presume correct advice would be don’t do it, but if you’re wheezy & that’s all there is, then it seems to be common sense!

1 like

Thanks for your reply :)

I’ve taken a couple of puffs and feel a bit better, will get a doc app tomorrow to get a new inhaler!!


I've used out of date ventolin inhalers quite a few times, they seem to turn up all over the place!! I try not to, but they seem to work!



I was told by my pharmasist that out of date medication will not harm you but may not help to full capacity because the ingredients can loose their strength. Based on this information as emergency I would say use your out f date ventolin but get a new be as soon as possible. After using it you may not fuel as good as you could do but it may help a little. You could also discuss with your pharmacist to get first hand information



Looks like you've been given some good advice here. I much appreciate you asking as my situation is slightly similar to yours as I only have a Ventolin inhaler for as and when I need it.

I was prescribed it quite recently due to having quite bad allergic reactions including wheezing and shortness of breath to cats and a couple of other things.

As I was going to be visiting some friends for a few days who had a cat I booked a doctors appointment to see if there was anything I could to help alleviate my symptoms that I knew I would end up having while there. I felt this was a better course of action than potentially having to cancel my trip!

While not convinced I had full blown asthma she wrote me up a prescription for an inhaler to use for situations that I may require it. Of course that means it may end up expiring before I finish it but it's very useful to know that it will do me no harm and likely be of some benefit if I have to use it.

Like yourself I also suffer from respiratory problems following a cold as well one of which I've had just recently. As is currently the case it tends to end up with me having a bad cough which lasts for a good few weeks. However, it doesn't seem to result in the other typical symptoms such as wheezing and the tight chest.

I actually forgot to inform my doctor of this when I saw her last. Perhaps that would have helped her make a more definitive diagnosis but obviously I cannot say for certain. I don't wish to hijack the thread but perhaps someone else could offer their opinion on this if they have experience of it?

Finally thanks again for your post. It definitely helped put my mind at rest on the subject.


Perfectly Safe, Always have a few spare inhalers here and there, home, car etc.


Hi Rachiet1987

It's worth asking your doctor to review your medication and whether you need to take a preventer inhaler if you need your Ventolin more than three times a week, you’re waking in the night one or more times a week because of your symptoms, you’re going through at least one reliever inhaler a month or you’ve had an asthma attack in the last two years.

These are all signs that your asthma is not as well managed as it could be.

If you have any questions about medication, call our specialist asthma nurses on 0300 222 5800 (Mon – Fri; 9am – 5pm) for advice.

Hope that helps,



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