Does Zoloft expire? (3 storage tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether Zoloft, an antidepressant, expires. We will also discuss the typical shelf-life of Zoloft and the potential risks of taking this antidepressant once it’s past the expiration date. We will also discuss some tips for storing Zoloft properly.

Does Zoloft expire?

Yes, Zoloft, also known as sertraline, does expire. Every medication comes with an expiry date printed on the packaging provided by the manufacturers. Different brands of sertraline might have different expiry dates based on the inactive ingredients added to the formulation or the type of formulation made.

So yes, Zoloft, or any other brand of sertraline, expires and the ingredients added to such formulations begin to deteriorate over time (1,2). If you think your Zoloft has expired or is about to expire, it’s best to check it properly and consult your doctor or pharmacist for a new prescription refill.

What is the shelf-life of Zoloft?

Zoloft typically comes with a shelf life of about 2-3 years (2). The shelf life of a drug is the period during which the medication is expected to remain stable, effective, and safe to use. After the printed expiry date has passed, the medication might retain its potency, but it is advised not to use it.

Is expired Zoloft good to take?

Some research studies suggest that expired Zoloft is still good to take, and the drug might retain its potency for a long time. (3)

However, it is strictly advised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to avoid the use of expired medications, especially meds like Zoloft that can affect your brain chemistry (4). 

Medications, in general, do not turn toxic or become poisonous right after they expire. The process of drug degradation can take time, and some drugs may remain good for years after they expire. 

However, there is no easy way to check whether your expired Zoloft is potent enough to help your depression safely and effectively. 

It is also important to note that storage conditions play a huge role in drug degradation, and the majority of people may store medications like Zoloft in humid areas, such as near the stove or in the bathroom. (5)

This can affect the potency of your expired formulation, as expired meds have no guarantee from the manufacturer regarding their safety.

What are the risks associated with the use of expired Zoloft?

Expired Zoloft may lose its potency, leading to therapeutic failure. This means that the medication may no longer effectively manage the symptoms it was prescribed for, potentially affecting your therapeutic goals. 

This can not only lead to therapeutic failure, but some people may begin to feel worse. This happens when your mental health continues to deteriorate as a result of not getting adequate treatment. 

Some people are aware of the fact that expired medications can lose their potency. This can lead them to take a higher than prescribed dose, hoping to make up for the lost efficiency of the drug. This increases the risk of overdose, as no one knows for sure how much potency has been lost, and there is no easy way to check it.

How to check the expiry date of Zoloft?

You can check the expiry date of Zoloft mentioned on the packaging or the label. If you have the original packaging, you can find the expiry date (EXP) printed on the box (2). Some brands may write expiry dates as ‘best-before date’, so make sure you properly read the packaging. 

If you have a prescription bottle, it’s typically good for a year, and the expiry date is mentioned on the bottle. However, if yours doesn’t have a proper expiry date mentioned, please talk to the pharmacist who dispensed the antidepressant to you.

How to store Zoloft properly?

To store Zoloft properly, it is important to follow the storage instructions provided by the manufacturer (2). This information is usually found on the medication packaging or included in the patient information leaflet. 

Always keep the medication container tightly closed when not in use. This helps protect Zoloft from exposure to air, moisture, and other environmental factors that can affect its stability. Some important storage points are discussed in the table below: (2)

Storage conditionsDirections 
TemperatureKeep at room temperature, between 20-25°C (68-77°F).
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
HumidityStore in a cool, dry place.
Avoid excessive humidity – it can affect tablet stability
Shelf LifeConsider refrigeration for extended shelf life, but follow manufacturer guidelines.

How to dispose of expired Zoloft tablets?

It is important to dispose of expired Zoloft in an appropriate way to avoid accidental administration of the expired tablets. Once you are certain that your antidepressant has expired, make sure you remove it from its packaging.

It is also important to make sure that you do not mix the medication box or bottle with your recyclable waste, as it can increase the risk of accidental administration or unnecessary use of the drug. You shouldn’t try and flush it down the toilet either (6). 

The best way to discard the tablets is to remove them from their packaging and mix them with undesirable waste like cat litter or coffee grounds. You can also reach out to your local pharmacy and check if they have drug take-back programs – which are considered the safest way to dispose of expired medication (7). 

The professionals take the expired drug back and dispose of it properly while ensuring the safety of human lives and the environment. 

As a pharmacist, I always advise my patients to never take expired medications, especially drugs like Zoloft which can affect your brain chemistry. It is also important to note that Zoloft should be taken properly and as advised by your provider. 

One shouldn’t have expired Zoloft if they’re taking the antidepressant properly. So make sure you understand the importance of your antidepressant and the consequences of leaving your depression or any other mental health condition untreated.


  1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:
  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from:
  1. Gikonyo D, Gikonyo A, Luvayo D, Ponoth P. Drug expiry debate: the myth and the reality. Afr Health Sci. 2019 Sep;19(3):2737-2739. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v19i3.49. PMID: 32127846; PMCID: PMC7040264. 
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available from:
  1. Funk OG, Yung R, Arrighi S, Lee S. Medication Storage Appropriateness in US Households. Inov Pharm. 2021;12(2):1–15. Available from: 
  1. Paut Kusturica M, Tomas A, Sabo A. Disposal of Unused Drugs: Knowledge and Behavior Among People Around the World. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2017;240:71-104. doi: 10.1007/398_2016_3. PMID: 27115675.
  1. Stoddard KI, Hodge V, Maxey G, Tiwari C, Cready C, Huggett DB. Investigating Research Gaps of Pharmaceutical take back Events: An Analysis of take back Program Participants’ Socioeconomic, Demographic, and Geographic Characteristics and the Public Health Benefits of take back Programs. Environ Manage. 2017 Jun;59(6):871-884. doi: 10.1007/s00267-017-0834-3. Epub 2017 Mar 3. PMID: 28258470.

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