Everybody has been prescribed common medicines at some point in their lives. They may be antibiotics for an infection, painkillers for an injury, birth control pills, etc.
Medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin are commonly available all over the world. Their overuse has made people forget that these medicines are not 100% safe to use and may have some side effects.
Take a deeper look at some common prescription medicines and their potential side effects. (1)(2)
Prescription Drugs With Serious Side Effects
Here are commonly prescribed drugs that can have serious side effects on your body.
1. Ibuprofen and diclofenac can cause gastric ulcers and bleeding
Ibuprofen and diclofenac are two common painkillers prescribed for a number of reasons. They are anti-inflammatory and help reduce swelling, joint and muscle pain, etc. They are commonly prescribed to people suffering from chronic diseases such as arthritis.
Both ibuprofen and diclofenac belong to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They can affect the delicate lining of your stomach, leading to gastric ulcers and bleeding. In rare cases, they can also lead to cardiovascular issues.
Hence, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should only be taken when absolutely necessary, and overuse should be avoided. (3)(2)
2. Aspirin can leave random bruises on your body
Aspirins are classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These agents reduce the signs and symptoms of inflammation and exhibit a broad range of pharmacologic activities, including analgesic, antipyretic, and antiplatelet properties. They are now even used in dermatology.
Aspirin is another common NSAID used as a painkiller. It is an acetylated salicylate and helps reduce swelling and pain. (4)
Aspirin also displays antiplatelet qualities and is thus being prescribed to some patients at risk of blood clots. However, people who take aspirin tend to bleed or bruise easily due to this.
Other side effects of aspirin include acidity, diarrhea, respiratory issues, and allergic reactions to NSAIDs. (5)
3. Naproxen, a leading migraine medication, can give you a tingling sensation
Naproxen is a painkiller that is sometimes used to treat migraines. However, this medicine has not been found to be effective at low doses (i.e., 500–600 mg).
While naproxen at doses above 800 mg may help relieve migraines, it can have side effects such as a persistent tingling sensation, upset stomach, nausea, and dizziness. (6)
4. Statins, prescribed for high cholesterol levels, can cause muscle pain
Statins are essentially blood thinners that help decrease the levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood. They are prescribed for people suffering from hypercholesterolemia or hypertension.
Statins can cause muscle pains in some people. Rarely, they can cause a condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which is the breakdown of muscle tissues that can eventually lead to liver damage, kidney damage, or even death.
5. Metformin, prescribed medicines for people with diabetes, can cause diarrhea
Metformin is the first-line treatment used in the management of diabetes. It is a prescription drug that helps control blood sugar in a number of ways.
Metformin helps lower carbohydrate absorption from the gut to lessen the amount of free glucose in the blood. Thus, it can cause changes to your gut bacteria. This imbalance can induce diarrhea in some people. (7)
6. Prednisone can make you shorter
Prednisone is a steroid medicine used for a number of issues, including asthma and gout. (8)
However, there have been recent concerns about the use of prednisone in young children and teens. (9) Some studies have shown that prednisone decreases bone density in both adults and children and causes growth retardation in children. (10)
7. Antihistamines can cause difficulty urinating, dry mouth, and tissue injury
Over-the-counter antihistamines such as cetirizine are commonly used around the world. They help reduce allergic reactions.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors in the cells to block the allergic reaction. However, they are known to cause drowsiness, fatigue, etc.
Prescription antihistamine drugs such as promethazine are much stronger and can cause urinary issues, tissue damage, etc.
8. Ofloxacin, the most common drug for bacterial infection, can cause negative neurological effects, itching, lower lip swelling, and ulceration
Ofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic drug. It is used to treat kidney infections, lung infections, etc., and is a potent medication. Some side effects of ofloxacin are fluid retention, swelling, itching, and ulcers, among others. (11)(12)
9. Dextromethorphan, a cough syrup, can cause hallucinations
Dextromethorphan, a common cough medicine, can cause psychological side effects if overused. It may cause hallucinations, dizziness, drowsiness, etc. (13)
10. Sleeping pills may cause sleepwalking
Sleeping pills such as zolpidem affect the GABA receptors in the brain and help you fall asleep. However, they have been known to induce involuntary sleepwalking in some people. (14)
Medications can be lifesaving and improve the quality of your life in many situations. However, they are being overused and abused nowadays.
Always weigh the possible outcomes before taking any strong medicine. Discuss your concerns with your doctor and let them decide the best possible treatment for you. At the end of the day, your doctor will prescribe a medicine for you only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Moreover, never stop any medication without your doctor’s permission.
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