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By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is a common mistake that many people make. They don’t check the expiration dates of medications in their medicine cabinets.

This is a very important thing to do because outdated drugs might not give you 100 percent of the benefits, because they’re not as potent.

This is particularly important when you take expired medications that treat chronic or life-threatening illnesses, such as heart conditions or seizures. The drugs can lose their strength and won’t work as well to keep you healthy.

Some of the most common drugs that can cause problems include oral nitroglycerin (which loses potency quickly once opened), as well as insulin, certain eye drops and many antibiotics.

If you are not sure where to look for medication expiration dates, check the label on the bottle or look for a stamp on the bottom of the package. The expiration date can be found in either of those places. You might also see the letters “exp” next to the date.

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