Expiration Dates

I'm often asked to clarify expiration dates. Unfortunately, there are many different ways that manufacturers can write the expiration dates on their products. For example, Jan19 should be interpreted as January 31, 2019, since the absence of a day indicates the drug's expiration is the last day of the month.


But what about 19Jan20? Does that mean January 19, 2020 or January 20, 2019? If the manufacturer's insert does not indicate how to read the expiration date, call the manufacturer for clarification.

When using multiple dose containers you're required to write the beyond use date, or BUD, for when you're no longer able to use the drug. Use the Karwoski Calendar to quickly figure out what date to write. Simply move one month into the future, minus 3 days, and you'll always be within your 28 day beyond use date.


Do this example with me: Let's say today is January 8th, 2019. One month from now is February 8th, 2019, minus 3 days is February 5th. So the date you'll write down on the opened multi-dose vial is 2/5/19.


Remember that if the manufacturer's expiration date occurs before your 28 day BUD the drug still expires per manufacturer's dating.


Another important thing to remember: if you're removing medications from the refrigerator and now storing them at room temperature, you must date them for their room temperature stability date. Rocuronium is stable at room temperature for 60 days while succinylcholine is stable at room temperature for 14 days.


NOTE: Not all refrigerated medications can be stored at room temperature. Consult manufacturer's recommendations for storage guidelines on all medications.

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