Drugs Q & A

Does Xanax Expire?

Xanax is a brand of alprazolam, a powerful prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of anxiety, panic disorder, and anxiety associated with depression. Xanax may be used alone or with other medications. Xanax belongs to a class of drugs called Antiaxiety Agents, Anxiolytics, Benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines act on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to produce a calming effect. Xanax slows down the movement of brain chemicals that may have become unbalanced, resulting in a reduction in nervous tension and anxiety. Xanax works by boosting the effects of a natural chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is made in the brain. It is not known if Xanax is safe and effective in children younger than 18 years of age.

Does Xanax Expire?

Yes,  like every other medication Xanax do expire. An expired Xanax can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength. The FDA recommends that consumers dispose all expired Xanax properly to avoid being consumed by children or pets.

Can you take Xanax that has expired?

No, you should not consume an expired Xanax. Pfizer the manufacturer of  Xanax can only guarantee a Xanax prescription will be effective and safe before its expiration date, so taking expired Xanax is not recommended.

Can expired Xanax hurt you?

Yes, beyond the fact that an expired Xanax may not be effective or safe, Xanax also carries a high risk of dependency, it is important to dispose of expired or unwanted pills correctly. Do not take expired Xanax before consulting a healthcare provider.

How long after expiration is Xanax good?

Xanax and generic alprazolam usually expire after two to three years from the date of production. Consuming an expired product could decrease Xanax’s half-life (an estimate of the period of time that it takes for the concentration or amount in the body of that drug to be reduced by exactly one half or 50%).

How to dispose expired Xanax

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued the following guidelines in 2007 for the proper disposal of prescription medications:

  • Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless the information specifically instructs you to do so.
  • If no instructions are given, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first: Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who intentionally may go through your trash.
  • Put the drugs (or the mixture of drugs with an undesirable substance) in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
  • Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service (see the blue pages in a phone book) to determine if a take-back program is available in your community.

As part of the aforementioned policy, the government recommends the addictive drugs be flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash. The goal is to reduce the danger of unintentional use or overdose and illegal abuse.

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