Keflex stinks so bad that when I open the bottle to give my father a pill, I hold my breath. Keflex tastes like smoke & leaves a “burnt cigarettes” aftertaste, he says.

Keflex (cephalexin) is an antibiotic that comes in capsule form.

An article at points out that doctors may not have ever held the drugs that they prescribe, and hence, don’t know just how “stinky” they can be – and this would certainly apply to Keflex.

The article also points out that if a drug is “foul smelling,” this could be enough to make the patient stop taking it.

My father balks most times I give him the 500 mg Keflex, which is four times a day, prescribed due to a skin infection.

I first began suspecting that the Keflex capsules were more than just bad smelling when my father did not take the pill I set before him and instead continued napping.

If something stinks bad, it probably TASTES bad, even though it’s not chewed but swallowed whole.

Not only does Keflex taste like smoke, but it leaves an aftertaste that he describes as being like burnt cigarettes.

According to a pharmacist who was interviewed for the abcnews article, there are no studies on the effects of patient adherence to taking medications that stink or taste bad.

Thank goodness the prescription is for one week, though four times a day.

My father finally came upon a solution to neutralizing the stink odor and aftertaste of Keflex:

He takes it with his orange-flavored B12 pill.

The article cites patients complaining that their prescribed drugs smell and taste like sour milk, fish or even like skunk.

What does the FDA say?

Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman, told ABC News that the organization is aware of bad odor complaints.

She explains that the complaints “are not necessarily indicative of drug quality or safety concern,” and that the stinky quality “can occur as a result of the chemical composition of the drug product itself.”

So I guess we can assume that the reason Keflex smells and tastes bad – even if it’s described as smoky – that this is due to the chemical composition of the drug.

Remember, drugs aren’t supposed to smell good, but it would be nice if a safe coating could be applied to neutralize offensive odors and tastes.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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