Can albuterol go bad

In this brief guide, we’ll explore the query “Can albuterol go bad?” Also, we’ll explore what happens when Albuterol goes bad, what albuterol is, what it’s contraindications are, and what to do if albuterol has gone bad. 

Can albuterol go bad? 

Yes, albuterol can go bad. It is a substance distributed in lots, each one with expiration dates, which are determined by the pharmaceutical laboratories that manufacture it, along with several hundred other types of medications that also receive an expiration date prior to being distributed. 

The expiration dates are estimated by pharmaceutical companies that subject their medications to many tests (prior to their market release) in order to determine what effects (such as heat, humidity, and illumination) are the most detrimental to a formulation. 

The purpose of an expiration date is to establish a time frame during which a certain medication is guaranteed to have the promised effect; after this period, a medicine’s efficacy may not work as advertised or expected. 

As albuterol is a substance formulated and marketed under these regulations, it’s worth noting that it can reach a point in which it is no longer effective, or perhaps even safe to consume. 

What happens when albuterol goes bad? 

When albuterol goes bad, like in any medication, the ingredients in the formulation begin to break down and ultimately, the medication’s active ingredient will not have the same potency or desired effect. 

Depending on the laboratory that manufactures it, some of the inert ingredients (which are compounds such as salts and acids that stabilize the active ingredient so it does not readily decay) may also break down and alter the chemical composition of the medication. 

Generalizing, once the expiration date on any medication has transpired, there is no guarantee that it is safe to consume, and will not lead to other problems. 

What is albuterol?

Albuterol, also known as salbutamol, is a bronchodilator medication, which is to say, that albuterol is used to treat conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and many other diseases in which the patient requires the muscles in the airway to deconstruct (relax) to facilitate breathing.

It is also used to treat conditions such as high levels of blood potassium and may be administered to pregnant women in danger of delivering prematurely. 

Adverse effects of albuterol include muscle aches (cramping) headaches, tremors, palpitations, and anxiety, while more severe side effects may include tachycardia (fast heart rate), arrhythmia (irregular heart rates), changes in skin coloration, lack of sleep and myocardial ischemia (lack of or lessened blood flow to the heart muscles). 

Some patients may present allergic reactions to the active ingredient, with differing levels of severity, these may include bronchospasms, hives, low blood pressure, and even fainting.  

What are the contraindications of albuterol

Patients with the following conditions should not readily use albuterol to treat airway constrictions: 

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Acidosis (high levels of acid in the body)
  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland)
  • Atherosclerosis (diminished blood flow through arteries)
  • Low blood oxygen saturation
  • Seizures
  • Arrhythmia  

People with one or many of the above-listed conditions should consult their general practitioner before using albuterol. 

Users who have been cleared to use albuterol should store inhales in a safe, dry place with cool temperatures, to avoid premature expiration of the product, and maintain the integrity of the inhaler and canister. 

What should I do if my albuterol has gone bad? 

If albuterol has expired, it should be properly disposed of, and a new prescription should be procured. 

However, if the expiration date has only just transpired, and the albuterol inhaler is used regularly, it can be safely used to treat mild symptoms.

If on the other hand, the inhaler has been unused and a period of months after the expiration date has already passed, it’s best to discard it and request a prescription refill rather than use it.   

As a general rule, serious medical conditions that require medication to work exactly as advertised (such as antibiotics, anticoagulants, and other types), should not be treated with expired medication at the risk of it having a subpar effect and leading to worsening symptoms. 

To safely dispose of expired albuterol, users should check with their local pharmacist if there are take-back programs, where these medications can be safely entrusted to certified professionals who’ll dispose of them properly.  as it comes as an inhaler with an attached canister and is considered a biohazard. 

Additionally, some police stations and fire departments may offer the service of collecting them for disposal, in which case, they should be taken in a sealed plastic bag and deposited in assigned waste bins. 


In this brief guide, we’ve explored the query “Can albuterol go bad?” Also, we’ve explored what happens when Albuterol goes bad, what albuterol is, what it’s contraindications are, and what to do if albuterol has gone bad. 


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