When consulting a doctor because of illness or other health concerns, it stands to reason that you follow the doctor’s advice and take whatever medicine you are given. It’s what most of us do. But do you know that many prescribed drugs can do more harm than good to your body?
In fact, prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of death in the world. This might be news for many, but this is reality.
The pharmaceutical industry and prescription drugs have their place in our medically advanced society. It is not possible to treat sickness with a prescribed pill, without dealing with the root cause behind the problem.
This is one reason why prescribed drugs are causing some serious side effects, compelling doctors to prescribe more pills to deal with those side effects.
It is important to carefully analyze the pros and cons of prescription drugs before making a decision of whether to take them.
Here are 10 highly dangerous prescription drugs you should know about.
1. Methotrexate and Other Chemotherapeutic Agents
Another prescribed drug that can be harmful is methotrexate as well as other chemotherapeutic agents.
This drug is used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat different types of cancer, such as breast, head and neck, lung, blood, bone, lymphoma and uterine cancers. Methotrexate is also prescribed by many rheumatologists and other practitioners to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
This drug comes as a solution for intravenous (IV) injection, which needs to be injected into a vein. It is also available as an oral tablet.
The most common side effects of this drug include mouth sores, nausea, fever, dizziness, stomach pain, tiredness, chills and an increased risk of infections.
When taken along with other drugs and for longer durations, methotrexate can cause serious, life-threatening side effects.
These serious side effects include bleeding as well as liver, kidney and bone marrow damage. During such a situation, you may suffer from vomit that contains blood, black tarry stools, unusual vaginal bleeding, yellowing of the skin, urinary problems, blisters on the skin, peeling skin and extreme muscle weakness, to name a few.
Antibiotics are a popular class of prescribed drugs that often restore health and even save lives.
Antibiotics are helpful in treating infections caused by bacteria, such as some forms of bronchitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria or stopping them from growing and multiplying.
But overuse as well as misuse of these drugs can cause long-term health problems.
In fact, antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed for conditions that do not even respond to them. Long-term use of such drugs has made many infections more virulent and untreatable.
Some of the most harmful antibiotics that are commonly prescribed are Levaquin (levofloxacin), Vancocin (vancomycin hydrochloride), Bactrim (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin HCL) and Floxin (ofloxacin).
Many antibiotics cause problems like stomach upset or other gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.
At times, antibiotics can also cause serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction that causes trouble breathing, hives, and swelling of the tongue and throat. Other severe side effects include tendonitis, seizures, irregular heartbeat or low blood pressure, and leukopenia.
Moreover, while not a direct side effect of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance is another common unintended effect of taking antibiotics.
One of the most common prescribed drug classes is antipsychotics for the treatment of conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe major depression and severe anxiety. However, these drugs can be very harmful to the body.
These drugs affect the action of a number of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters – chemicals which the brain cells need to communicate with each other. The drugs also aid in the control of muscle movements.
Common side effects of antipsychotic medications include blurred vision, dry mouth, drowsiness, muscle spasms or tremors, and weight gain.
Long-term use of such prescribed drugs can increase blood sugar levels, elevate lipid and cholesterol levels, and promote weight gain. At the same time, experts have raised concerns about the long-term neurological and brain damage that can result from taking antipsychotics.
Never stop taking these drugs without consulting your doctor. Your doctor can help you consider different treatment options.
4. Coumadin or Warfarin
Coumadin and the generic version known as warfarin work as anticoagulants (blood thinners), which prevent the formation and migration of blood clots. Blood clots can cause a stroke, heart attack or other serious conditions if they form in your legs or lungs.
Warfarin prevents blood clots by blocking blood-clotting factors that are needed for clots to form.
The most common side effects that occur with warfarin include unexplainable bruises, nosebleeds, bleeding gums and heavier than normal menstrual bleeding.
Warfarin, especially if taken incorrectly, increases your risk of dangerous bleeding as well as other severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. Such side effects include red or brown urine, black stools, severe headaches, extreme joint pain, vomiting of blood and weakness.
Never take this drug without consulting a doctor as many drugs interact with warfarin. These interactions can be dangerous.
The class of drugs known as statins are prescribed to lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) level in the body. They inhibit an enzyme that controls cholesterol production in the liver. This in turn lowers the levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood.
People with high LDL cholesterol are at an increased risk for developing peripheral vascular disease and cardiovascular disease, which in turn can lead to angina, heart attacks or strokes.
Most people are able to take statins without too many side effects. Some of the common side effects include joint and muscle pain, constipation, diarrhea and nausea.
However, taking statins for an extended time or not as directed by a physician can greatly increase your risk of diabetes, liver disease, brain damage, muscle atrophy and even early death.
Some people are at a higher risk of suffering severe side effects. This includes people taking multiple medications to lower cholesterol, women, people with smaller body frames, people age 65 or older, people with kidney or liver disease, and those who drink too much alcohol.
This antidepressant drug alters the mechanism that balances levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects mood, agitation, anxiety and sleep.
This medicine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
However, this prescribed drug for depression is not only harmful but highly addictive.
Some of the common side effects that occur with taking Prozac include diarrhea, dry mouth, flushing, headaches, increased or decreased appetite, nausea and excessive sweating.
When taken for long durations, Prozac may cause severe side effects that may need professional attention. Such side effects include skin allergic reactions, breathing problems, confusion, changes in vision, palpitations, seizures, mood changes, tremors, trouble sleeping, unusual bleeding or bruising, and unusual weakness.