Is it okay to use Polysporin after the expiration date? 

Is it okay to use Polysporin after the expiration date? 

No, it is not recommended to use Polysporin after the expiration date. This is because Polysporin is an antibiotic ointment which is intended for topical application. These formulations usually have high moisture content which makes them susceptible to microbial growth. 

The expiry date mentioned on the packaging not only guarantees the safety and efficacy of the active pharmaceutical ingredients but also the preservatives which are meant to keep the formulation safe from bacterial contamination. 

Once Polysporin expires, there’s no guarantee that the preservatives will work with their full potency. 

What are the dangers associated with the use of expired Polysporin? 

The use of expired Polysporin can be quite dangerous for you, especially if it has become contaminated. This antibiotic ointment will not only fail to treat your minor infected wounds, but by applying an expired ointment on open cuts, you can end up infecting your wound by yourself. 

A lot of people have also reported allergic reactions, associated with symptoms like:

  • Redness at the site of the ointment application 
  • Burning sensation 
  • Painful blisters
  • Skin Discoloration 

This is why it is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration to not take expired medication (1). A few may help you, but they still have no guarantee regarding their safety and efficacy, and it could put your health at risk. 

What to do if you have applied expired Polysporin ointment on your open cuts? 

If you have accidentally applied expired Polysporin ointment on your open cuts, wash it away if possible. A single application may not cause you any harm. 

However, if you’re exhibiting any sign of an allergic reaction on the site of the ointment application, reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can.

It’s best to avoid using expired Polysporin on open wounds. If it has been in your medicine cabinet for a while, go for a quick expiry check before you apply it. 

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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 19]. Available from: