How Long Can I Keep an Inhaler for my Asthma?

Asthma Inhaler

If you suffer from asthma, chances are you’ve been prescribed an albuterol inhaler to help manage your symptoms.

Whether you’re instructed to use that inhaler daily, or only on an as-needed basis, you may wonder how long you can keep the same inhaler around before the medication inside it goes bad.

The answer to that is two-fold: Most inhalers expire one year after they’re given, but can be effective up to a year after that expiration date.

Inhaler’s Initial Expiration Date

Most prescription inhalers have an expiration date of roughly one year after they’re removed from their foil pouches. After that date, the manufacturer cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the medication.

An inhaler’s expiration date can be found on both the packaging and the inhaler’s canister, but you may want to write the date down elsewhere - even in permanent marker on the inhaler itself - so you don’t risk forgetting.

Because most people don’t need rescue inhalers as often, chances are higher that an inhaler will expire prior to an individual finishing off the medication in the inhaler.

For this reason, it is not recommended that you keep too many back-up rescue inhalers on hand, as you are more likely to risk an unopened inhaler going bad prior to you using it, wasting the inhaler.

Past Expiration

In many cases, the albuterol medication inside a rescue inhaler does still hold some effectiveness for up to one year past the printed expiration date.

However, because albuterol loses its potency over time, it’s recommended to only utilize an expired inhaler in a true emergency situation.

If you are using an expired inhaler, it is possible that the medication will not work as it should, and you won’t find the necessary relief from your asthma symptoms. Luckily, though, reduced effectiveness is about the only side effect you can anticipate from using an expired inhaler, so using one in a pinch isn’t likely to pose any additional health risks to you.

Asthma Doctors in Mississippi

At MSAAC, we make it our goal to help quickly, accurately diagnose and treat asthma in children and adults. We understand that asthma can require unwelcome lifestyle changes and may even pose a serious health risk, which is why we work hard to create treatment plans that work for your individual needs. Don’t suffer in silence - Schedule an appointment at one of our five locations across Mississippi today!