Do Cough Drops Expire? How Long Do They Last?

When you’re sick and feeling miserable, the last thing you want to do is go out and buy cough drops. But what if you already have some in your medicine cabinet? How long do they last? And will they expire?

The expiration date of cough drops is usually about two years from the manufacturing date. But this can also vary depending on the brand, so checking before consuming them is essential. And though they typically have a shelf life of 1-2 years, if they are past their expiration date or not stored properly, they may not be effective in treating coughs.

Read on to know if there’s a limit to how long cough drops can last and whether they’re safe to use beyond their expiration date.

What Are Cough Drops? Do They Expire?

do cough drops expire

A cough drop is a small lozenge made of hard candy or taffy that you suck on to help soothe your throat when you have a dry or wet hacking cough. Cough drops help relieve coughs.

And when you have a bad cough, sometimes the only thing that can soothe your throat is a tasty cough drop. They are not only delicious, but they can help with a variety of ailments. Unfortunately, some believe that if an item has been opened for over a few months, it’s time to toss it.

While this may be true for some items, it is not the case for many others. Let’s look at whether or not your cough drops have expired and how long they last before you need to throw them out.

How Long Do Cough Drops Last?

The shelf life of cough drops depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the best before date and how they are stored. Cough drops kept sealed in the pantry typically stay at best quality for about 1 to 2 years.

How Long Do Cough Drops Last at Room Temperature?

Properly stored, cough drops will generally stay at best quality for about 1 to 2 years. Cough drops exposed to temperatures above 75°F may not be as effective in treating coughing symptoms.

Prolonged heat exposure can reduce their efficacy, and expired cough drops may not work as well in treating your symptoms. If you need cough drops for cold or cough symptoms, check the expiration date on your package before using them.

Do Halls Cough Drops Expire?

Yes, Halls cough drops do expire. These cough drops have a shelf life of about two years. In other words, if you have a pack of Halls cough drops in your medicine cabinet and it’s been sitting there for more than two years, it’s time to toss it.

This isn’t just because the flavor might not be as good — it’s also because the preservatives in the candy might no longer be effective. You risk getting sick if you’re chewing on an old pack of Halls cough drops.

Do Ricola Cough Drops Expire?

Please discard the product if the Ricola packaging does not indicate a standard expiration date. Ricola Cough Drops have a two-year shelf life if kept in a cold, dry area.

Does Menthol Expire?

Menthol refers to mint oil from the peppermint plant Mentha piperita. It’s used in all sorts of products, from ice cream to toothpaste to cough drops.

But does it go bad? Not really — but it can lose its potency over time.

Menthol is a natural extract that doesn’t go bad like something synthetic might. But because it has a very low molecular weight, its molecules are highly volatile and tend to evaporate quickly after extraction from the plant.

This means that even if you store your menthol product properly, there’s still a chance that some of the molecules might break down over time and render the product less effective.

How to Tell When Cough Drops Have Expired

Check the expiration date on cough drop packages. If you can’t see any expiration dates, look for a “best by” date instead. It should be close to the same time as your purchase date if they’re still good.

Some people have noticed that their cough drops seem as fresh as ever after years past their expected shelf life has expired.

The only way to know if your lozenges have gone bad is the presence of an unpleasant odor or taste like something went wrong during their production process. You’ll know them when you smell or taste them!

What to Do With Expired Cough Drops?

Even though cough drops are a type of candy, they do expire. Although the expiration date will usually be about two years from when they were manufactured, this can vary between companies and brands.

When cough drops expire, their flavor and effectiveness reduce significantly. If you have a box of old cough drops past their expiration date, it’s best to throw them away and get new ones.

How to Store Cough Drops Correctly

do cough drops expire ricola

Cough drops are a great way to soothe the tickle in your throat, but you want to ensure that they’re stored properly. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Store in a Cool Place

If you keep your cough drops in a warm environment, they’ll start to melt and won’t be as effective at soothing your cough. Keep the cough drops in a cool, dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting.

Because cough drops are sensitive to heat, be careful not to store them in places that get too hot, like on top of the stove.

2. Don’t Leave Them on Your Countertop for a Long Period

Don’t do this, especially if it’s humid outside. This could cause them to get soggy or melt, which will make them less effective.

3. Keep Them at Room Temperature

Make sure not to put cough drops in the refrigerator or freezer, as this can change their consistency and make them less effective at soothing your coughs.

4. Put Cough Drops in Airtight Containers

If you’re traveling with your cough drops, try putting them in airtight containers, so they stay fresh and don’t break down during transit. If you’re going out of the house for a long time, consider packing some plastic bags for extra protection against moisture.

5. Discard Expired Cough Drops

Discard any unused cough drops after two years from the manufacturing date. And if you are unsure of the expiration date, throw the cough drops away. You will have to get a new box, which may be inconvenient, but it is better than getting sick from expired ones.

What Are the Different Types of Cough Drops?

There are a few different types on the market today. Some want to soothe your throat, while others can help with sore throats and even cold symptoms like coughing and congestion. The most common types of cough drops are as follows:

1. Sore Throat Relief

These cough drops use menthol or eucalyptus to help relieve any pain in your throat and other symptoms that come with a sore throat, like a cough.

2. Cough Suppressant

These cough drops have dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant that helps prevent coughing by suppressing the part of your brain that causes coughing. Many cough drop brands also have an ingredient like menthol or eucalyptus to help ease sore throat pain.

3. Cough Suppressant and Expectorant

Some cough drops combine the two ingredients above, making them extra powerful against cold symptoms. They relieve your sore throat and suppress your urge to cough while also helping you clear out any mucus in your chest.

Again, do cough drops expire? Cough drops expire. But, it is still safe to take them. However, do not expect them to work as intended.

What Ingredients Do Cough Drops Have?

do halls cough drops expire
Menthol

Cough drops are a popular cough remedy. They can be sweet, sour, minty, or even spicy. They often contain sugar or honey as one of the main ingredients, which help coat the throat and make it easier to swallow. Other ingredients commonly found on cough drops are explained below:

1. Menthol

This compound gives off a cooling sensation when inhaled, making it ideal for cough drops. Menthol is one of the most common ingredients in cough drops, and it’s a natural one. It comes from mint oil.

Did you know that menthol has been used for thousands of years as a medicine to treat sore throats, coughs, congestion, and other ailments? Since then, menthol has been used in many products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and cough drops.

It works by causing a cooling sensation in your throat when you swallow it. This helps relieve pain and make your throat feel less irritated by the inflammation caused by coughing or sneezing.

When you swallow menthol-containing lozenges or syrups, they coat your throat with a layer of protection against germs that might cause infection or illness.

2. Sugar

Cough drops are a type of candy. They are made up of sugar, water, and other ingredients that help to make the candy more flavorful and beneficial to your health.

Sugar is an ingredient that can be beneficial in cough drops because it helps soothe a sore throat. The presence of sugar in cough drops can also help give your taste buds something sweet to enjoy when you’re feeling under the weather.

3. Dyes

Cough drops contain dyes to make them more visually appealing. The government strictly regulates these dyes.

Many different types of dyes can be used in cough drops as ingredients. These include FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, and FD&C Yellow No. 6. Natural colorants like caramel coloring are also used.

4. Artificial and Natural Flavors

While many natural ingredients can be used to create a cough drop, it is often necessary to add artificial flavors to these products to make them more palatable. You can always check the label on the back of the package to see what’s inside.

Aromatic chemicals like ethyl caproate and methyl anthranilate are used to create artificial flavors. Honey, fruits, and berries are used to create natural flavors. And to change the flavor, acids like citric, malic, lactic, and tartaric acid are used.

5. Other Ingredients

Companies have recently begun including zinc in cough drops. Zinc may aid in the relief of cold symptoms. Vitamin C is another ingredient that has been added to some brands of cough drops.

Other ingredients include the following:

  • Echinacea
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Camphor
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sodium citrate

Frequently Asked Questions – How Long Do Cough Drops Last?

Is It OK to Use Expired Cough Drops?

Consuming expired medicine is risky, according to the FDA. They suggest that people not use it past its expiration date. Manufacturers set expiry dates on medicines intended to help you, not hurt you. If your cough drops have expired, do not take them.

Why Do Cough Drops Expire?

Since 1979, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA has required pharmaceutical companies to label their products with expiration dates. This date ensures the potency and quality of medicines, but it also may be a trick that can take advantage of consumers.

What Happens If You Consume Old Cough Drops?

Eating cough drops may cause a mild stomachache or other digestive distress. However, if you eat lots of old cough drops, you may also have other severe symptoms. 

Why Did My Cough Drops Turn White?

Cough drops contain several ingredients, including sweeteners, emulsifiers, and flavoring agents. When you put these ingredients together correctly, they form a tasty treat that can help ease your sore throat and make breathing easier.

But they also contain a lot of sugar and other sweeteners that can react with air when exposed to light or heat (like leaving them in the sun).

When they react with oxygen in the air, they turn white! The same happens when you leave an apple slice on the counter too long. It turns brown as it oxidizes.

So don’t worry; your cough drops aren’t going bad. Just store cough drops in an airtight container, so their tasty goodness stays fresh.

Conclusion – Do Cough Drops Have an Expiration Date?

If you’re suffering from a cold, cough drops can be a great way to soothe your throat and get some relief. However, you must follow expiration dates as directed by the manufacturer, as they are important indicators of whether a cough drop will work properly or not.

Though it might be tempting to take that expired cough drop when you need it most — in the middle of a brutal cold or flu season — it’s best to avoid them if they are past their prime.

Cough drops past their expiration date may not be as effective in treating a cough and can cause other side effects. Therefore, it is best to check the label before using any cough drops — expired or not.