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Discussion Starter #1
I have asthma, its mild and i only use a rescue inhaler. A couple of days ago i noticed that it was empty and i havent been to the doctor. Today i went to the gym and i really didnt expect anything to happen because i dont often have attacks, i overdid it on the olyptical machine and could feel myself tightening up. I ended up going home and using an expired albuterol inhaler (the only one i could find) but aparently its 5 yrs old. Hopefully i wont die. My airway seems to have opened some. I looked online for advice on expired inhalers and they basically said that chemicals break down after time and things can become either harmful or ineffective. Can anyone calm my nerves or give me any experiences they've had. Im aware none of you are doctors so im not looking for medical advice.
 
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I've used old ones myself during emergency close-ups. It didn't affect me in a bad way at all. All it did was open up my airway ;)
 

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Should be fine, over time the chemical changes which happens are rarely that much different to what can potentially happen when it reaches the body. Just googled the chemical structure of albuterol and it doesn't look like there are many inherently unstable bonds or functional groups in it either - the only thing I can say is that the exipients might go 'off', leading to a pH change in the formula which in turn has an effect on the overall charges of the molecule. The only effect this really would have is altering the absoprtion (which is kind of irrelevant seeing as it's applied locally) and how it interacts at receptors, leading to a change in the activity of the molecule (most likely a decrease) and in how it is metabolised. Anyhow, ionisation isn't really too much of a problem because the body has a range of pH environments so it may very well reverse itself on entering the lungs.

Expiry dates are there because drug molecules have to exert the precise effect which is stated, not because they can instantly go bad like meat; more often than not, it's the exipients in the formula which expire rather than the drug itself. If a drug is inherently unstable at room temperature, it is stored in the fridge for months before use anyway (e.g. insulins). Unless the drug is being directly administered into the blood or a vulnerable area such as the eye, it's unlikely that a single dose of an expired medicine is going to harm you. I still wouldn't recommend routinely taking expired medicines as there is no guarantee that they will exert the intended effect.

Sources
Trainee Pharmacist :3
 
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