Does Adderall Expire? The Dangers of Keeping Expired Adderall

does Adderall expire

Adderall is a prescription medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a daytime sleeping disorder. In 2022, 45 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, making it one of the most widely prescribed psychiatric medications.

Keeping medications safe and storing them correctly is important for everyone in the household. One source of prescription drug abuse among kids, teenagers, and young adults is expired medications. Storing expired medications, including Adderall, in your cabinets creates a chance for misuse or abuse of the drug.

Like many medications, there are risks involved when taking Adderall that are not prescribed to you. There are also risks associated with taking expired Adderall.

Does Adderall Expire?

Yes. Adderall and other medications will expire after a given amount of time. All prescription medications have an expiration date on the label. The expiration date may be designated by either the manufacturer or a pharmacist. Expiration dates are usually located in the same area as the name of the medication and the date the label was printed.

Expiration dates were made mandatory by the FDA in 1979, requiring manufacturers to place an expiration date that represents the expected shelf-life of that medication when stored under ideal conditions.

Expiration dates can vary from one medication to another. Most medications are certified to last between 12 and 60 months. Liquid medications and antibiotics tend to have shorter lifespans than capsules and pills.

It’s important to note that most medications have storage directions, as well. For example, most prescription drugs are supposed to be stored in dark, room-temperature places while some liquid medications have to be stored in the refrigerator. Storing a medication incorrectly can cause it to expire more quickly.

What Happens When Adderall Expires?

Like other medications, Adderall is guaranteed to maintain the same potency until its expiration date. Most medications are actually designed to stay fully potent for years beyond their expiration date. However, once the expiration date passes, Adderall may slowly lose potency over the years.

The Dangers of Having Expired Adderall in Your Home

Expired medications can not only be less effective, but they can also be dangerous to keep in your home.

According to the FDA, a lot of recreational drug use and substance abuse begins with drugs that were obtained from the medicine cabinets of family members or friends. Since Adderall is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and addiction, it is a drug that may be actively sought out by people who are looking to get high. As a result, it is essential to keep any stored away securely and to dispose of any expired Adderall that you are no longer using.

Under the right conditions, some prescription drugs, including Adderall, can grow bacteria if left expired for extended periods of time. Ingesting said bacteria could be dangerous to your health.

The only time when it may be appropriate to take expired Adderall is if it has a normal appearance, was a prescription that belonged to you, and if you are currently prescribed Adderall but have been unable to get a refill due to a shortage. If Adderall is not prescribed to you, you should not take it, whether it is expired or not.

What Should I Do With My Expired Adderall?

The FDA label for Adderall provides instructions for how to properly dispose of Adderall. These are as follows:

“Comply with local laws and regulations on drug disposal of CNS stimulants. Dispose of remaining, unused, or expired ADDERALL XR at authorized collection sites such as retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement locations. If no take-back program or authorized collector is available, mix ADDERALL XR with an undesirable, nontoxic substance to make it less appealing to children and pets. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag and discard ADDERALL XR in the household trash.”

Are There Other Ways to Tell if Adderall Has Expired?

Unlike produce, Adderall isn’t going to rot, change color, or smell bad when it expires. However, if the pills are stored incorrectly, they may show physical signs of expiration. For example, Adderall capsules can melt if they are left in the car or in other hot spaces, thereby decreasing the potency of the medication. Both capsules and tablets can also lose potency if they get wet.

If you ever notice anything physically wrong with your Adderall pills, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Find Help Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction, getting help from a drug and alcohol rehab center can help you get your life back on track. Call today to speak with an admissions counselor about your various prescription drug addiction treatment options.

1. CNN: Adderall users struggle with ongoing shortage, Retrieved July 2023 from
2. U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines, Retrieved July 2023 from
3. U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Adderall XR Label, Retrieved July 2023 from

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