Do Glucose Tablets Expire? When, How, And Why? – The Answers

Posted May 1, 2020 by Clint Kelly - See Editorial Guidelines

Glucose tablets can be a quick, lifesaving product for diabetes patients. Glucose tablets help spike blood sugar levels rapidly when the blood sugar levels are dangerously low. But the question often arises as to whether glucose tablets expire. This article will give a clear understanding of whether glucose tablets expire, how they look when expired, and much more.

Here’s the quick answer to give you some quick information, then we’ll head into some of the more crucial details.

Do Glucose Tablets Expire? Glucose tablets do expire and have an expiration date, just like other medications and food products. Glucose tablets are chewable for easy absorption, which helps in increasing the blood sugar levels instantly. After expiration, the tablets harden, making it difficult to chew and absorb easily, causing them to work slower than they should.

Diabetes patients may experience low blood sugar after intense exercise or if they haven’t eaten anything for a long period. In these situations, a person may seek to consume glucose tablets.

It is not every day that a person needs glucose tablets. So, this limits the frequency or how often these glucose tablets are used. This also means that patients may be using glucose tablets even after the expiration date.

Do Glucose Tablets Have an Expiration Date?

Do Glucose Tablets Expire

You can compare these tablets to candy or any other sugary snacks, and you will note that even those have expiration dates.

You can usually find the expiration date of glucose tablets behind the label or somewhere on the packaging. 

Some people may have difficulty in finding the expiration date on glucose tablets and medications because of the placement and terms used.

The following terms can refer the expiration date on glucose tablets:

  • Expiry
  • Expiry Date
  • Expires
  • Exp
  • Exp Date
  • Use By
  • Use Before
  • Best Before

Why Do Glucose Tablets Expire?

Glucose tablets are made up of mostly sugar, and sugar, technically, doesn’t expire. The same may be true for certain medications. Sugar may harden or may lose its sweetness over time, but it does not support the growth of bacteria. Therefore, pure sugar will not expire. 

There have been times where individuals have taken expired medication, and that medication still treats their condition. So, why do glucose tablets expire and have expiration dates?

It’s the same reason why many medications have an expiration date. The date on the container just means that the glucose tablets may not be as effective as it should be. In other words, the glucose tablets may not be efficient and effective in doing its job beyond the expiration date.

This means that if one takes expired glucose tablets, it may not rapidly increase the blood sugar level as required. Therefore, one may require additional fast-acting carbs to bring blood sugar back up into the target range. 

This is one of the main reasons why glucose tablets expire and have a “use by” date on the container. 

The expiration date for glucose gels or other liquids is more valid, as their non-solid texture makes them easily sensitive to foreign chemicals, which can make them not safe beyond expiration.

How to Know If Glucose Tablets Have Expired

Do Glucose Tablets ExpireGlucose tablets will generally work beyond the expiration date, but they may not be as effective. The tablets are made to be easily chewed and to absorb quickly. However, after the expiration date, the tablets may become hard and difficult to chew.

Therefore, when glucose tablets expire, the absorption rate of the glucose from the tablets may be slowed.

So, slow absorption means the slower the glucose begins working in the body, meaning the more time it’ll take to increase your low blood sugar levels.

In short, the tablets may harden beyond the expiration date, making it harder to chew and slowing down the absorption rate of the tablets.

So, it’s always best to use the glucose tablets only up to the expiration date to get the best results. However, it’s a common and general rule that one should not take or use products after the product has expired.

Note- some expiration dates come in the form of months. For example, “Expires July 2021”. This means that the product should not be taken after the last day of the month – 31st of July 2021.

Do Glucose Tablets Expire Before the Expiry Date?

Another critical thing to say is that, in rarer instances, medications and other products like glucose tablets may not be safe or effective even before its expiration. There are instances where glucose tablets may expire or lose its potency, efficacy, or efficiency before it expires.

There are many instances where people complain about how their glucose tablets look pale, faded, or discolored prior to the date printed on the container. The glucose tablets may be less effective in this case.

Why Would Glucose Tablets Expire Before the Expiry Date?

Direct sunlight, hot temperature, moisture, and humidity can affect the expiration of glucose tablets, just like many medications.

It’s a general rule that no medication should be kept in direct sunlight, next to any heat sources, in a humid environment, or near any moisture (like bathroom cabinets). Too much heat and humidity can easily melt down the medications, making them more likely to expire before the printed date.

This should not make the glucose tablets or medications toxic. When medications melt or stick together because of moisture, its properties risk being worn away, making them less potent. If this occurs to glucose tablets or your medications, they should be discarded. 


We hope this has helped clear up any questions regarding glucose tablets and their expiration dates.

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