The FDA this week approved extending the expiration date of all future manufactured Narcan (the 4mg Nasal spray) from 3 years to 4 years. They note that this only applies to Narcan manufactured going forward and not to previously manufactured Narcan, although there is no indication that there is any change in the way Narcan is going to be manufactured in all future Narcan products to give it more shelf life other than simply adding a year to the expiration date.
Previously (in 2020) the FDA extended the expiration dates from 2 years to three years.
I applaud the extension of the expiration dates. It is shame when people or organizations have paid good money for the life-saving drug only to have to dispose of it because of an expiration deadline. It would be one thing is the drug stopped working immediately on expiration. In the case of naloxone, unlike say milk, the product doesn’t spoil and it retains its potency for many years.
Yes, naloxone works for years after its expiration date. One study showed naloxone stayed viable even after thirty years of storage in a less than ideal setting. That study concluded: “Extending the shelf-life of naloxone products may have important financial and public health consequences in addressing future drug shortages and meeting the needs for this critical drug.” No doubt.
Bottom line: If someone is overdosing and your expired naloxone is all you have, use it.