TYLER, Texas — Checking the expiration dates on food is important, but have you checked the expiration date on items in your medicine cabinet? 

East Texas pharmacists are saying you definitely should.

Sonny Krezdorn, owner and pharmacist at Rose City Pharmacy in Tyler, says it all has to do with how the chemicals in certain medications change.

“So, the issue with expiration dates on medications are that all chemicals can break down over time," Krezdorn said. "So, what we have on our expiration dates are the dates of the manufacturer can guarantee efficacy, safety, stability of the drug.”

Since 1979, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required medications to have expiration dates. Pharmacies review their inventory several times a month to check for prescriptions that will expire within three to six months.

“When we dispense medication and it goes from the stock package to the bottle, there's actually an expiration date, it'll go on your label," Krezdorn explained. "What it is, is a year out from the time that we filled it or the manufacturers' expiration date."

If you have expired medications lying around, Krezdorn says you should not take them.

“So, let's think about insulin, your dose is really, really tailored to the individual patient,” Krezdorn said. "So, if that medication if that insulin dose is actually weakened, because it's expired, and it's no longer as effective, and you're not getting the right, the actual right effect of the drug.

One thing to keep in mind is your medications can expire sooner than the designated date if they are not properly stored.

“Even if your expiration date is one day, it can actually break down a little faster if it gets hot,” Krezdorn said. “So, that's one thing to keep in mind, don't put your medications in your car, don't leave them in a hot environment, or moisture, like a lot of people like to leave them in the bathroom, that can actually speed up their expiration date of their medications.

To get rid of expired medicines, you can take them to a designated drop off sites such as the Smith County Sheriff’s Office or Longview Police Department. 

For a complete list of East Texas drop off locations, visit East Texas RX.