Does Docusate sodium expire?

Does Docusate sodium expire?

Yes, Docusate sodium does expire. It usually has a shelf-life of about 3-4 years, depending on the manufacturers. However, Docusate sodium does not turn toxic when it expires. 

In fact, it can easily outlive its expiration date and may remain active for a year or two more. However, it gradually starts to lose its effectiveness. 

What are the dangers associated with the use of expired Docusate sodium? 

Expired Docusate sodium does not possess any health risk. This is because the medication does not become toxic to your body once it’s past the expiration date. However, it will not benefit you either. 

If the medication has recently expired, you still may achieve the therapeutic response you’re hoping for, but if it has been more than 3 years, you will not see any change. This is why it is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration to rely on expired medications (1). 

What to do if you have taken expired Docusate sodium? 

You don’t need to do anything or worry much if you have taken expired Docusate sodium. The medication will cause you no harm. In fact, if you are in need of a stool softener and you happen to have recently expired Docusate sodium, you can still take it. 

It will most probably work, partially if not completely. However, if a dose or two doesn’t make a difference, it’s not recommended to take any more than that. It’s best to use unexpired Docusate sodium if you’re struggling with your bowel movements. 

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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 21]. Available from: