A drug’s shelf life is the time span it retains potency. Shelf life starts on the day of the drug’s manufacture.
There are different amoxicillin products available, and each one has a different shelf life.
Capsules and tablets
Your pharmacist may refer to these products as solid dosage forms and dispense them to you from stock bottles from the manufacturer.
Depending on the manufacturer, the stock bottles will typically carry an expiration date of two to three years.
However, pharmacists commonly make the expiration date on your prescription about one year — as long as that fits into the expiration time on their stock bottle.
Be diligent about properly storing your amoxicillin capsules and tablets. Keep them in a light- and moisture-resistant container at room temperature. A good place is your bedroom, not the bathroom.
If you’re prescribed amoxicillin in a liquid form, chances are your pharmacist mixed a powdered form of the drug with distilled water. Powdered forms of amoxicillin last around two to three years.
But since it’s mixed with water, it’ll expire after 14 days.
Store this type of amoxicillin in your refrigerator to limit degradation and maintain stability.
Drug expiration dates on labels indicate the final day that the pharmaceutical manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication. An expiration date on prescription products is required by law.
Typically, drug manufacturers test their products’ stability at two to three years out. The drug might be stable beyond that time, but it isn’t tested for a number of reasons because:
- This is viewed as an acceptable time frame.
- It eliminates the manufacturers’ need to perform long-term stability tests.
- It requires pharmacies and consumers to replace expired products.
Stability studies have shown that the actual shelf life of medications might extend longer than the expiration dates indicate. But after a drug leaves the manufacturer, there’s no guaranteed consistency of proper storage, which can affect its safety and potency.
There are a number of reasons why it’s not recommended you take expired amoxicillin, including:
- Amoxicillin is a molecular compound and will degrade over time.
- There’s no stability data to determine if the potency will last over time.
- You can’t determine amoxicillin degradation or chemical change by sight or smell.
- If it has degraded, it won’t provide the therapeutic benefit you need.
Amoxicillin is an antibiotic. Even though it might not be toxic past its expiration date, it may have lost some of its potency. If it’s not as effective in treating infection-causing microbes, it might even help these germs build immunity to the drug. That means the next time you need amoxicillin, it might have little or no effect.
The amoxicillin you get from your pharmacist should have an expiration date on it. It’s not recommended that you take it after that date.