My trazodone expired in 2017. Is it harmful to take now?
Trazodone, like all prescription drugs, does expire. It is not recommended that you take trazodone if it had an expiration date in 2017.
The main concern with taking expired medication is that it may not have retained the desired potency level or effectiveness. This decreased potency can lead to incorrect dosing of the medication resulting in an increased risk for adverse effects.
The expiration date on trazodone is determined by multiple factors but, most importantly, it refers to how long the manufacturer is willing to guarantee that the product meets the labeled standards of potency and purity.
Most medication is listed with an expiration date of 2-3 years from the time of manufacturing and typically correlates with the time period for which the manufacturer performed stability testing. After this expiration date, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the medication “goes bad”, it just means that there is no stability data regarding whether or not the medication will retain the listed potency and purity when stored at proper conditions.
When a pharmacy dispenses you a medication, it must be labeled with an expiration date or a beyond-use date. The beyond-use date that is listed depends on the product being dispensed and takes into account how long a drug is stable after being dispensed. In most cases, the beyond-use date will be shorter than the manufacturer expiration date as the beyond-use date specifically refers to an expiration time after dispensing or repackaging a medication.
The state in which you are located has laws to determine the beyond-use date for most dispensed products. Most commonly, and as a general rule of thumb, the beyond-use date (commonly listed as the expiration date on the prescription bottle) will be one year, or the manufacturer listed expiration date, whichever is sooner.
So, as mentioned above, expired trazodone shouldn't be harmful to take, but it may not be as potent as it once was. This can potentially lead to treatment failure, which of course can be deleterious to your health. If you have been prescribed trazodone but your prescription is expired, it is recommended to reach out to your doctor for a refill.