Does paroxetine expire? (+3 side effects)

In this article, we will discuss if paroxetine expires. Paroxetine is an antidepressant and belongs to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Does paroxetine expire?

Yes, paroxetine does expire. The expiry date of the drug is determined by the manufacturer. However, this does not always imply that the drug will no longer work beyond that date. Some medicines, on the other hand, can be dangerous if consumed beyond their expiration date.

Most of the drugs beyond their expiry date just become less effective with time as a result of changes in chemical structures. Storing your drug according to the directions given on its label can help paroxetine last until its expiration date.

If you store expired tablets and capsules in a dry and cool place, they usually won’t hurt you. Capsules that have expired should be used very carefully since the gelatin shell is heat and humidity-sensitive. Not complying with such conditions can deteriorate paroxetine much earlier than expected.

Why does paroxetine have an expiry date?

An expiration date is a period during which the product will stay stable under prescribed storage conditions. In other words, the expiration date is the date beyond which it is expected that paroxetine will no longer be fit for use (1).

As the potency of paroxetine decreases, it is more likely that the drug will not exert its effect. Due to this, the patient will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms or relapse into anxiety and depression.

How long paroxetine can be used after it expires?

For the patient, the expiration date is the date printed on the container/label of a dosage form containing paroxetine. It is the time during which paroxetine is expected to remain within the approved shelf-life requirements if stored properly.

Paroextine effectiveness declines over time, but much of its initial potency remains even a decade after the expiry. However, do not take paroxetine beyond its expiry date written on the package, or if the packaging exhibits evidence of tampering.

If the expiration date has passed a few months ago but the patient desires that paroxetine should be 100% effective, then he should consider purchasing a new bottle (2).

What happens if expired paroxetine is consumed?

If the patient consumes expired paroxetine, he may experience the following drawbacks:

  • Decreased efficacy: paroxetine loses its effectiveness after the expiration date. This means if a person consumes the drug after the expiry date, they will not receive the necessary serotonin level to stabilise their condition.
  • Infection: liquid preparations provide a bacterial growth risk after the expiration date. Infection and inflammation can occur due to the consumption of this expired medicine.
  • Increased occurrence of anxiety: as the potency of paroxetine decreases beyond the expiration date, the patient will have major episodes of depression and anxiety.

Can expired paroxetine cause harm to the body?

Using expired paroxetine can be risky since it can alter the brain chemistry. It can specifically alter levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood and emotions. Changes in serotonin levels can have an impact on mental stability. 

Due to the inadequate effect of paroxetine, the patient might begin to have withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • dizziness,
  • vertigo,
  • insomnia,
  • anxiety,
  • flu-like symptoms,
  • unusual and excessive dreaming, and 
  • irritability.

As a result, it is critical to avoid using expired paroxetine and to seek the advice of a healthcare professional on the pharmaceutical safety of expired medicine. If the quality of life of a patient is disrupted due to depression then he should not jeopardise mental health for an expired medicine.

How to dispose of expired paroxetine?

There are numerous methods to dispose of expired paroxetine.

  • The safest approach is to dispose of paroxetine at a drug disposal facility like a pharmacy.
  • Unused drug drop boxes are available at many healthcare facilities, police stations, and neighbourhood pharmacies. Dropping expired medicine in these boxes decreases the chance of misuse.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency and water and sewer agencies recommend that expired medications should not be flushed down the toilet or washbasins. Furthermore, water treatment systems are unable to remove drugs from the drinking water.
  • The FDA also advises scratching off personal information from the prescription label of an expired paroxetine bottle before discarding it.


In this article, we discussed whether paroxetine should be taken beyond its expiration date. You should always consult with your healthcare professional or pharmacist before using expired medicine. I strongly suggest that you should not play with your mental health over a few bucks or your laziness to go to the pharmacy.

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Hutchins M. Extending the monopoly–How ‘secondary patents’ can be used to delay or prevent generic competition upon expiry of the basic product patent. Journal of Generic Medicines. 2003 Oct;1(1):57-71.


Nevels RM, Gontkovsky ST, Williams BE. Paroxetine—the antidepressant from hell? Probably not, but caution required. Psychopharmacology bulletin. 2016 Mar 3;46(1):77.

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