Can you take expired antidiarrheal medications? 

Can you take expired antidiarrheal medications? 

It is not recommended to take expired antidiarrheal medications or any other expired medication. However, if you are struggling with watery stools and your medication has recently expired, you can take it. 

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not using expired medications, anti-diarrheal drugs do not necessarily go bad or become toxic once they are past the expiration dates. So they can be used in case of an emergency if they have very recently expired.

However, if it has been quite a while since your antidiarrheal meds expired, do not use them. 

What are the dangers associated with the use of expired antidiarrheal medications? 

Using expired antidiarrheal medications that have lost their potency can lead to the following consequences:

  • Your diarrhoea will remain unresolved. You will not achieve any symptomatic relief and there will be no reduction in the frequency of your watery stools.
  • You may experience unexpected side effects, such as minor allergies, rashes, and gastrointestinal disturbances
  • If the expired medication has been contaminated, it can cause an infection in your body.
  • Rarely, expired medications can cause toxic reactions when ingested, leading to severe health problems.

What to do if you have taken expired antidiarrheal medications? 

If you have taken expired antidiarrheal medication that has lost its potency, you will not see any positive change. It’s best not to take another dose if it doesn’t work and talk to your healthcare provider. 

There are several possible causes of diarrhoea and it should not be left untreated. Persistent diarrhoea can cause severe dehydration and can lead to hospitalisation. In some cases, diarrhoea is caused by infectious bacteria in your gut, which require antibiotics to go away for good. 

This is why you need to take this seriously and discuss proper treatment strategies with your healthcare provider. Some medications like antidepressants (Cymbalta, Lexapro, etc) and antibiotics can trigger severe diarrhoea which should be managed right away. 

As far as using OTC meds is concerned, make sure you use fully potent medications to achieve your therapeutic goal successfully.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Schiller LR. Antidiarrheal Drug Therapy. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2017 May;19(5):18. doi: 10.1007/s11894-017-0557-x. PMID: 28397130. Available from:


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration; 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 14]. Available from: