Taking old medicine is a bad idea for two reasons: it may no longer be effective and if it's an outdated prescription, it could be dangerous to your health.
Brookshire Brothers pharmacist, Norman Bondesen, said, "Most of the medications are going to decrease in potency and that's why we take the medication. Most of the [over the counter] stuff is inexpensive, so you might as well discard it and start new, fresh, with the best potency you can use."
You don't have to throw your medication away on its exact expiration date, but for best results, it's better not to hang on to it too long after it expires.
"There's no sense in doing that, you might as well go ahead and follow those guidelines. If there's medication left, there's an odd reason for it. Unless the doctor gave it to you on an as-needed basis, it should be gone. He gives it to you for ten days, you should take it for all ten days - you shouldn't have any left."
Some East Texans agree. When in doubt, throw it out, just to be on the safe side.
"I [have] small grandchildren, [so] I don't keep it," said a Lufkin resident.
Old or not, others keep their medicines around a little longer, just in case.
"You keep thinking you might need it, and when you think you need it, you don't know what it is anyway," said a Lufkin woman.
All medicines have some type of odor, but if there's a change in odor or discoloration, that's when you should throw it away.