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Can you take expired NyQuil?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Feb 14, 2022.

Official answer


Does NyQuil expire?

NyQuil does expire and you should not use it past its expiration date printed on the label. The ingredients may have degraded and it may not be safe or effective. Many factors can affect the stability of a medicine, including heat, humidity, light, presence of preservatives, and other factors.

Even though a product may contain a preservative, the expiration date is the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication.

For example, NyQuil Cold and Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid contains three active ingredients that could expire:

  • acetaminophen (a pain and fever reducer)
  • dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant)
  • doxylamine (a sedating antihistamine)

Some NyQuil products may also contain 10% alcohol which can evaporate over time. Alcohol is present in NyQuil to help dissolve the active ingredients.

Is it safe to take expired NyQuil?

There is no way to know if expired NyQuil will be safe or effective for you to take past the expiration date. This is due to a variety of factors that can affect drug stability like heat, humidity, or light. Purchase a new bottle of NyQuil if your current bottle is past its expiration date.

If your NyQuil looks cloudy, discolored (from the original color), contains any floating particles, or has an unusual odor do not use the product. In addition, some NyQuil Liquid products may undergo evaporation of the alcohol solvent.

Learn more: Drug Expiration Dates - Are Expired Drugs Still Safe to Take?


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