a woman who is curious about whether an expired inhaler is safe

Expired Inhalers: Are They Safe?

There’s no doubt that asthma medication can be very expensive—with some inhalers costing more than $100 a month. Because of this, you may be tempted to get your money’s worth by continuing to use an inhaler that has expired. While this is perfectly acceptable for the most part, there are few things you need to keep in mind.

There is no research to indicate that using an expired inhaler can be bad for your health, so using one is not going to make your asthma worse. However, as these medications age they begin to slowly lose their effectiveness—which means that if you’re using a particularly old inhaler, it may provide you with little to no relief.

A good rule of thumb is that as long as the inhaler is less than a year old (regardless of expiration date) it should function relatively normally. Beyond that, it may be better to toss it out and use a newer one. Finally it should be noted that some inhaler users have notice that their expired medications develop a distinctly unpleasant aftertaste. It’s often described as being both extremely minty and putrid at the same time.

Last Updated: April 16, 2015