Can You Take Expired Baclofen?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not taking expired baclofen is safe.

Question

Can I take Baclofen that has expired?

Asked by Kate On Jun 14, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jun 17, 2022
Last updated Jun 17, 2022

Key points

  • Baclofen does expire, and typically has a labeled expiration date two to three years after the manufactured date.
  • It is not recommended to take expired baclofen as it may have degraded and lost potency over time. This may make it less effective.
  • There is no data to suggest expired baclofen is otherwise harmful.

Hello and thank you for your question!

We are more than happy to answer this for you.

Taking Expired Baclofen Isn't Recommended

In general, you should not take prescription medication that has expired, and this includes baclofen.

Expired baclofen may not be as potent as it was when it was in date, which may lead to it being ineffective. There is no data to suggest that expired baclofen will cause harm, but again, it just may not work as well.

Now, one of the challenges with expired drugs is that it is often impossible to tell if they have degraded or lost potency, as there are few, if any, tell-tale signs aside from tablet degradation.

Baclofen that has degraded has no distinct or demonstrable signs that clearly indicate the drug is no longer good.

Your best bet is to refill your baclofen prescription, or attain a new one from your doctor, so you can trust that you are taking medication that will work as intended.

Where Do Drug Expiration Dates Come From?

The vast majority of drugs are labeled by the manufacturer with an expiration date and this date reflects the time period during which the product is expected to remain stable (as long as it is stored under the proper conditions).

To determine these dates, drug manufacturers will perform stability tests at certain storage conditions to determine how quickly they degrade over time.

Most (but not all) oral drugs will last years when stored under proper conditions, but most manufacturers perform these tests only for a finite period of time (generally 2-3 years).

It's entirely possible that the drug will still retain its labeled potency well after the labeled expiration date, but if there is no specific data for a particular drug, it won't be dated farther out in the future.

In fact, most studies suggest that the majority of drugs retain their potency well after the labeled expiration date, sometimes up to 10 years or longer.

Due to this, the FDA created the 'Shelf Life Extension Program', which allows for the storage of a number of expired drugs (such as antibiotics) for emergency use as there is a reasonable assumption they will still be effective.

Final Words

Going back to focusing on expired baclofen, as mentioned, there is just no telling if it still retains its labeled potency.

In all likelihood, it will still be somewhat effective, and won't cause harm in the sense that it has degraded into some toxic byproduct. The only harm it will cause is if it does not work well enough to treat your symptoms.

Unless you are in some sort of emergency, you should get a new prescription for it.

References

  • Expiration Dating Extension, FDA
  • Baclofen Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Drug expiry debate: the myth and the reality, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication related questions!

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