Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is the Importance of Amoxicillin Refrigeration?

Amoxicillin refrigeration is crucial to maintain its potency and effectiveness. When stored at room temperature, the antibiotic can degrade, compromising its ability to fight infections. By keeping amoxicillin chilled, you ensure its full strength is preserved until its expiration date. Wondering how temperature affects other medications? Continue exploring to ensure your prescriptions retain their healing power.
C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Amoxicillin refrigeration is important for some liquid preparations of this drug. When amoxicillin needs to be refrigerated, the label should indicate that this is the case. Many amoxicillin pills, chewable tablets, and liquid suspensions can be kept at room temperature without going bad. If an oral suspension of amoxicillin is supposed to be kept refrigerated, the medication may lose its potency or may go bad if it is left out. Rather than risk taking a drug that may have gone bad, a replacement should be requested from a pharmacist if there is concern that the instructions regarding refrigeration have not been followed.

A combination of the antibiotics amoxicillin and clavulanic acid called amoxicillin clavulanate must always be stored in the refrigerator. Most patients are given a course of treatment with this medication that lasts from a few days to about two weeks. Leaving this medicine at room temperature for this amount of time can damage the drug and make the patient sicker. Following the proper amoxicillin refrigeration guidelines for this drug will help ensure that it is effective.

Amoxicillin in liquid form requires refrigeration.
Amoxicillin in liquid form requires refrigeration.

It is important to follow amoxicillin refrigeration guidelines for other oral suspensions of amoxicillin as well. In most cases, however, liquid suspensions of this drug can be left at room temperature while the patient is undergoing treatment. A pharmacist will be able to determine whether a particular type of amoxicillin is safe to leave out, but refrigeration will not damage amoxicillin, so patients who are unsure of the requirements can always store the drug in the refrigerator. Flavored preparations of amoxicillin may also require refrigeration because the additives in the flavoring can spoil.

Unrefrigerated amoxicillin should be replaced by a pharmacist.
Unrefrigerated amoxicillin should be replaced by a pharmacist.

When amoxicillin is in pill or tablet form, refrigeration is not usually necessary. Pills can almost always be stored at room temperature without losing potency, though they should be kept away from heat and light. Amoxicillin pills can, however, smell unpleasant. The odor of the pills may be reduced if they are stored in the refrigerator.

Like all medications, amoxicillin has a shelf life. Patients do not need to worry about this, since the medication they are given should usually be taken immediately. Pharmacists, however may prolong the usefulness of the medication by refrigerating it. Following the proper guidelines for powdered or pill-form amoxicillin refrigeration is important so that patients receive active medication with the proper potency.

Do All Antibiotics Require Refrigeration?

It is important to check with the pharmacist to determine if the prescription requires refrigeration. Some antibiotics can be kept at room temperature, but Amoxicillin is not the only one that is recommended to be kept in the refrigerator. 

Other types of liquid antibiotics that require refrigeration 

Antibiotic suspensions that can remain at room temperature

  • Biaxin (GENERIC NAME: CLARITHROMYCIN)
  • Cleocin (GENERIC NAME CLINDAMYCIN)
  • Bactrim (GENERIC NAME: SULFAMETHOXAZOLE-TRIMETHOPRIM)
Amoxicillin tablets can usually be stored at room temperature without losing potency.
Amoxicillin tablets can usually be stored at room temperature without losing potency.

Antibiotics that have been left out for a short time and need refrigeration may still be safe to use. Contact the pharmacist to verify the shelf life of the prescription at room temperature before consuming. If there is a change in color, taste, or smell, contact the pharmacist to see if a replacement prescription is required. If the Amoxicillin is old, contact the provider.

Can I Still Use An Old Prescription Of Amoxicillin?

Liquid amoxicillin may have a shorter shelf life than pills.
Liquid amoxicillin may have a shorter shelf life than pills.

Do not use an old bottle of Amoxicillin to self-treat a new illness. A doctor will provide the appropriate medication and dosage for the specific patient and illness. A new prescription will also mean it is safe to consume and not beyond the expiration date.

It is not a good idea to self-diagnose a sickness. A doctor should first determine if an antibiotic is the proper course of treatment as they only work with bacterial infections. Treating a viral infection with antibiotics will not work and puts the patient at risk of developing avoidable side effects. Using antibiotics when they are unnecessary can also cause long-term side effects that affect everyone.

A syringe is recommended for giving exact dosages of liquid amoxicillin to young children and babies.
A syringe is recommended for giving exact dosages of liquid amoxicillin to young children and babies.

The needless use of antibiotics can increase antibiotic resistance, causing the bacteria to change and grow stronger against the medicines used to fight them. They build a tolerance to these medications, making antibiotics less effective when they are genuinely needed. This causes more hospitalizations, stronger medications, and even death. Amoxicillin, like other antibiotics, should only be prescribed when necessary, and in the proper dosage.

Doctors order a specific dosage based on the weight of the patient, but also the severity and type of infection. Medicine that was not prescribed for the individual that is sick or was previously used to treat a different illness can cause the dosage to be incorrect. 

Using an improper dosage can result in either taking too much antibiotic or not enough. Not using enough antibiotics can encourage antibiotic resistance, and using too much can increase the chance of adverse side effects. Although it may seem that the prescription is accurate for a new ailment, it is also imperative to verify that the product can still be used safely.

Do not use looks, taste, or smell to determine if the Amoxicillin is safe to consume. Refer to the expiration date and do not use it if the antibiotic has expired. Medication can be less effective when it is too old. Improper use can cause the infection to spread, potentially making the patient sicker. Using an antibiotic with less potency can even increase the chances of building antibiotic resistance. When in doubt, contact the prescribing doctor or pharmacist.

Possible Side Effects Of Amoxicillin

It is important to call the healthcare provider if there are any adverse side effects, especially allergic reactions. Contacting the pharmacist is also a good idea if there are any questions or concerns regarding the prescription, possible side effects, or drug interactions.

Stop the medication if an allergic reaction occurs. Make a trip to the ER for signs of severe allergic reactions like trouble breathing or swallowing, throat swelling, hives, or dizziness. Do not wait to see if these symptoms go away on their own. An injection, like an Epi-Pen, may be required to prevent anaphylaxis. A phone call to the doctor’s office may be sufficient for less severe side effects.

Notify the prescribing doctor if symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are severe or do not go away. Taking a probiotic alongside Amoxicillin is recommended to help prevent stomach problems such as diarrhea. If a probiotic is not available, consuming foods high in good bacteria can be beneficial to the gut. For a complete list of other possible side effects or possible drug interactions, reach out to the dispensing pharmacist.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

candyquilt

My infant was prescribed an amoxicillin suspension and I forgot to put it in the fridge before I went to bed. It remained in room temperature for about 11 hours. I wasn't sure what to do so I called up my pharmacist. He said that I need to get another prescription because there is a chance that the suspension will not work. So we ended up going to the doctor again for another prescription to be on the safe side.

If anyone has amoxicillin suspension or liquid and if the pharmacist said to refrigerate it, please do.

ddljohn

@fBoyle-- I don't think so. Don't use medications past their expiration date.

Amoxicillin tablets/capsules don't have to be kept in the fridge. You can keep them in the fridge if you want, it's not going to harm them. The point is to keep them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. But I don't think it's a good idea to use medications past their expiration date regardless of how they're kept. The medication probably won't work so your infection will get worse and you will have wasted time.

fBoyle

Will amoxicillin tablets last longer if I refrigerate them? Can I use them past the expiration date if I kept them in the fridge the whole time?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Amoxicillin in liquid form requires refrigeration.
      By: Jaimie Duplass
      Amoxicillin in liquid form requires refrigeration.
    • Unrefrigerated amoxicillin should be replaced by a pharmacist.
      By: Monkey Business
      Unrefrigerated amoxicillin should be replaced by a pharmacist.
    • Amoxicillin tablets can usually be stored at room temperature without losing potency.
      By: mangostock
      Amoxicillin tablets can usually be stored at room temperature without losing potency.
    • Liquid amoxicillin may have a shorter shelf life than pills.
      By: ognianmed
      Liquid amoxicillin may have a shorter shelf life than pills.
    • A syringe is recommended for giving exact dosages of liquid amoxicillin to young children and babies.
      By: Rachakrit
      A syringe is recommended for giving exact dosages of liquid amoxicillin to young children and babies.