Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of people who get in trouble because they take drugs or supplements that don't mix...particularly seniors.
"I take four medications for my anxiety, and I take one for my thyroids, and I take one for my allergies, and I take one for high blood pressure...16 prescriptions," says patient Francesca Taranto.
"The more medications that you take the more likely you are to have a drug interaction that is going to give you a side-effect that is potentially dangerous," says Dr. Michael Freedman with NYU Medical Center.
And that's why the National Council on Aging is launching a campaign to educate seniors about the proper use of over the counter medicine. The first rule is keep your medicines up to date.
"Some of the medications may be 10 years old. I've seen medications that are 15 years old. And, they are not even really sure what they are, what they were for, but they keep them in their medicine cabinets and never get rid of them," says Bill Dionne with the Burden Center for the Aging.
Another drug no-no is swapping pills, because a friend or relative has the same problem you do. That's a really bad idea.
But overall, the most important thing you can do is tell your doctor about every medicine or vitamin you take, whether it's prescription or over-the-counter. And if you forget, give your pharmacist a list of all the things you take and ask if a new prescription will interact with any of the other stuff you're taking.