Many of us take some form of prescription drug during our lifetime. It’s a medicine prescribed to us directly by a doctor to help prevent disease, cure disease and manage disease. If everything goes to plan, the simple act of taking the prescription drug will help improve your health problems. The downside is that nearly all prescription drugs have a long list of potential side effects.
Some drug side effects are pretty straightforward (like how allergy medication can make you drowsy) but others can be highly undesirable and just plain wacky. Often, we take prescription medication on the advice of our doctor without even thinking about the hidden dangers and potential shocking side effects.
In 2009, US scientists found that the average drug prescribed in the USA comes with about 70 different potential side effects. What’s more, the most commonly prescribed drugs often had about 100 side effects each. As reported by MSNBC at the time: “The greatest number of side effects was found in antidepressants, antiviral medications and newer treatments for restless leg syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.” Despite these statistics, the scientists firmly believe that drugs with many side effects are not unsafe to take.
Could that pill you’re taking at the moment put you at risk of hallucinations, weird sleep behaviors, strange colored urine, or even death? Check out our list of 10 shocking side effects from prescriptions drugs.
10. Taste of Metal – That Drug Could Ruin Your Meal
An antibiotic called clarithromycin (Biaxin) can add a metallic taste to food and drink. It can make you feel like you’re tasting the aluminum coke can rather than the coke itself. Unfortunately with antibiotics, it’s important that patients continue to take the full course of treatment, otherwise they risk not healing properly. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to get this side effect, doctors recommend staying on the drug but switching up your diet to find some foods that might taste better.
9. Colored Urine – See Your Pee Turn Psychedelic
This is definitely a side effect that could give patients a surprise when they visit the restroom! Many different prescription drugs can lead to a complete change in the color of your urine. Women who take the drug Pyridium to treat a urinary tract infection may end up with orange urine. The chemotherapy cancer drug doxorubicin (Doxil) can result in red pee. The muscle relaxant methocarbamol can lead to green urine. A bladder infection treated with the drug Urised can make your urine turn blue. Other colors you could expect include purple and even black.
8. Hair Growth – Prepare For Some Extra Hair
Years ago, some men were prescribed a drug name minoxidil to treat an enlarged prostate. Many of them noticed extra hair growth on their bodies as a result of taking this drug and the company responsible jumped on the bandwagon and started using the same makeup of drugs to help treat hair loss in men (such as balding on the head). The drug finasteride (Propecia) has a similar effect, and is not approved for use by women. Patients taking a glaucoma drug by Allergan noticed longer, fuller eyelashes as a result of taking the drug.
7. Yellow Teeth – The End Of Your Kid’s Pearly Whites
It doesn’t seem fair that a simple prescription drug could leave kids with permanently damaged teeth but a common antibiotic called tetracycline can do just that. If taken by children, teeth can be stained yellow, so it’s rarely prescribed anymore. What’s more, even the teeth of an unborn child could be affected if this drug was taken by a pregnant woman.
6. Injuries – You Could Tear Ligament or Tendon
A shocking side effect of some simple antibiotics is the potential to tear a ligament or tendon – without actually doing any strenuous activity or exercise. This side effect relates specifically to a class of antibiotics called floroquinolones and the exact reasoning behind it is not entirely clear to researchers. The risk is higher among children and older people, who might notice some form of leg pain which could be a torn ligament or tendon, and they should see their doctor right away.
5. Vision Problems – Everything Could Be A Blur
Unfortunately for some patients, taking the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra can mess with your vision. You could notice a slight blue tinge in your vision, you could have problems seeing the difference between blue and green, or you could notice that you vision becomes blurred. In fact, Medical News Today reported that researchers from the University of Minnesota found that users of Viagra could even have permanent vision loss due to a lack of blood flow to the optic nerve.
4. Hallucinations – But Not From LSD
A hallucination isn’t something most of us would expect to get from a prescription drug, with the exception perhaps of morphine or a strong painkiller. Lariam (also called mefloquine) is an anti-malaria drug that many people still take today particularly if going on vacation in a malaria-prone region of the world. One of its side effects is hallucinations. It has been known to cause frightening hallucinations and violent behavior among its users. Now it’s required that patients with a history of depression or psychosis avoid this drug altogether. Mirapex can cause hallucinations too until the course of treatment is over.
3. Sleep Problems – Sleepwalking, Nightmares and More
Many people around the world, particularly older people, have difficulties sleeping and are prescribed some kind of sleeping pill to help them out. The dose of zolpidem in some sleeping pills can result in all sorts of wacky sleep behavior including walking, snacking, driving and even having sex. According to CBC News, some patients on sleeping pills have even been arrested for driving while asleep and causing accidents. The drug Chantix which helps people stop smoking can result in nightmares or night terrors – which could end up with you waking up in the middle of the night screaming and possibly not even remember the incident the next day.
2. Amnesia – Just Like The Soap Operas
Nearly every long-running soap opera or TV drama has had at least one incident of amnesia where a character just appears with no memory. As tacky as it is on screen, it’s actually a real-life problem too that can be caused by prescription drugs (albeit very rarely). One side effect of Mirapex is amnesia. It can cause short-term memory loss among patients, which was usually cured when the patient stopped taking the drug. Another drug, Lipitor, which is taken to help lower cholesterol, can have a similar effect among patients.
1. Wild Behavior – The Risk Of Becoming Compulsive
This is a shocking side effect from prescription drugs that’s not really physical – it’s something that can affect your mind and behavior. Users of the drug Mirapex have experienced a compulsive turn in their behavior due to the increase in dopamine. They could go from being occasional drinkers to heavy drinkers (or even alcoholics). They could go from having a slight interest in gambling to being a gambling addict with huge debts. They could start binging on food or become overly sexual. According to News Inferno a man claimed in 2008 that Mirapex turned him into a gambling addict and he won an $8.2 million lawsuit against the drug company.