The 10 Most Popular Prescription Drugs & Their Potential Side Effects

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Modern medicine really loves to implement the band-aid effect; doctors often just prescribe drugs to mitigate the systems of a health problem rather than focusing on curing the underlying issue. People with high cholesterol are prescribed Statins rather than looking at their diets, anxiety sufferers are handed pills rather than delving into why they have anxiety in the first place, and the list goes on and on.

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Though I see this system as being flawed, if you don’t see any holes within it, I ask you: Do you actually know what the potential side effects of these drugs are? Many people are completely unaware of the potential hazardous effects of numerous prescription drugs because their doctors don’t tell them and they don’t think to ask. I know I experienced this before I started questioning my doctors and the medical industry.

It’s completely understandable; these are the people we’re expected to trust with our lives, so why would we second guess their recommendations? Well, it’s not your doctor who formulates the prescriptions, it’s Big Pharma companies, and their number one goal is to profit. The problem is, Big Pharma only profits if you’re sick: not healthy, not dead, just in between.

To give you a greater picture of some of the potential dangers common drugs pose, I’ve put together a list of the side effects from the 10 most popular prescription pills in the U.S.

1. Vicodin, Norco, Xodol (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) 

This particular drug is used to treat pain, and is classified as an opioid. There’s a massive opioid epidemic plaguing the U.S. right now, which is being fuelled by both pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government. Many consider the U.S. government to be one of the biggest drug dealers of opium and heroin in the world, a problem you can read more about in our CE articles here and here.

We see more and more overdoses and addictions related to these drugs occurring each year, and it all stems from Big Pharma and doctors overprescribing medication and understating the side effects and addictive tendencies. This issue isn’t new, however; it actually started decades ago.

“[The marketing effort for opioid sales] was a promotional campaign unlike we have ever really seen,” explains Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the Chief Medical Officer for the Phoenix House treatment centers and co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. “Drug reps were going to family care doctors, and insisting that OxyContin had no real risks—only benefits. What they were selling was the idea that pain was a disease, and not a symptom.”

So, what are the risks associated with opioids? Vicodin can cause short-term effects such as nausea, constipation, slowed breathing, dizziness, impaired judgement, confusion, extreme drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Long-term effects include liver toxicity, heightened pain, memory issues, anxiety, and increased chance of injuries, not to mention that this drug is highly addictive; in fact, more than 5 million Americans abuse Vicodin.

The irony is that many people take the drug for pain, but in reality it can increase your sensitivity to pain, worsen your pain tolerance over time, and ultimately lead to more pain. Keep in mind that more pain = more drugs needed = more money for Big Pharma companies. See the pattern emerging here?

Recommended Book: The Big Pharma Conspiracy: The Drugging Of America For Fast Profits

2. Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid (Levothyroxine) 

These drugs are used to treat hypothyroidism. Some of their side effects include: hair loss, headaches, insomnia, irritability, fever, hot flashes, heart palpitations, irregular menstruation, and appetite and weight changes. It’s ironic that many of these symptoms are actually the exact same as the symptoms caused by hypothyroidism in the first place (weight gain, menstruation issues, hair loss, and more). So, people are taking a drug to avoid these issues yet risk experiencing or exacerbating them by doing so.

3. Delasone, Sterapred (Prednisone)

These drugs are used to treat arthritis. Prednisone is actually a steroid, so it can weaken your immune system and increase risk of infections. Common side effects include aggression, visual impairment, dizziness, irregular heartbeat/heart palpitations, headaches, and mood swings.

Prednisone can cause osteoporosis and many issues if you’re taking it while pregnant, including birth defects and nursing problems. Long-term usage can lead to skin issues, change in shape/location of body fat, increased acne, menstrual irregularity, and reduced sex drive.

4. Amoxil (Amoxicillin)

This drug is a penicillin antibiotic. When it comes to antibiotics, approximately 30% of oral antibiotics prescribed are completely unnecessary. There are also many all-natural antibiotics you can take instead, which you can learn more about here.

Potential side effects of Amoxil include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach issues, vaginal itching, headaches, rashes, swollen tongue, colitis, seizures, hives, and jaundice.

5. Neurontin (Gabapentin)

This drug is used to treat seizures and nerve pain. Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, headaches, more seizures, swollen glands, fevers, rashes, numbness, pain, jaundice, chest pain, irregular heart beat, confusion, swelling, weight gain, difficulty breathing, and rapid back and forth movement of your eyes. Please note that this drug, which is used to treat seizures, can actually cause more seizures.

6. Prinivil, Zestril (Lisinopril)

This drug is used to treat hypertension and is commonly taken by people with heart problems. Side effects include coughing, drowsiness, depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, weight gain, fever, body chills, psoriasis, chest pain, heart palpitations, and slowed heart rate.

7. Lipitor (Atorvastatin)

This drug is classified as a Statin, a type of drug commonly used by patients with high blood pressure or heart disease. A new study conducted by Penn State College found a correlation between use of Statins and increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, which you can read more about in our CE article here. Statins are heavily marketed in North America, which is a huge reason why they’re so popular, and much of the advertising is false and/or misleading.

For example, another study, published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacologyrevealed that, despite Statin drugs being marketed for their ability to decrease the artery disease called atherosclerosis, they may actually stimulate it and cause heart failure.

Side effects of Lipitor specifically include nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain, confusing, memory issues, fevers, weight gain, blurred vision, jaundice, and more.

8. Glucophage (Metformin)

This drug is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Side effects include headaches, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, weight gain, fevers, chills, numbness, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat.

9. Zofran (Ondansetron)

This drug is designed to treat nausea and prevent vomiting. In some cases, chemotherapy patients and pregnant women experiencing “morning sickness” will take this drug in order to decrease nausea. The FDA actually issued a warning regarding the use of this drug, stating that one dose “may affect the electrical activity of the heart (QT interval prolongation), which could pre-dispose patients to develop an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm known as Torsades de Pointes.”

Side effects of Zofran include headaches, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, rashes (which can be serious and cause blisters/pealing), temporary visual impairment, seizures, chest pain, loss of consciousness, and difficulty breathing, swallowing, and/or talking.

10. Motrin (Ibuprofen)

A common anti-inflammatory drug taken for pain relief, ibuprofen has now been linked to heart problems, as long-term use can increase risk of a major vascular event (heart attack, stroke, or dying from cardiovascular disease) by approximately a third.

“This means that for every 1,000 people with an average risk of heart disease who take high-dose diclofenac or ibuprofen for a year, about three extra would have an avoidable heart attack, of which one would be fatal,” the researchers said. Read more in our CE article here.

There are numerous potential risks of taking Motrin that range from nausea and heartburn to issues as serious as comas and seizures. More common side effects include bloating, shortness of breath, nausea, indigestion, and swelling (which is ironic given that it’s supposed to be anti-inflammatory).

Final Thoughts 

It’s interesting to note that many of these drugs cause diarrhea and vomiting, which means your body is literally forcing itself to expel its contents. Do you really think that taking drugs that can cause your body to go into any sort of distress is good for it?

Many pharmaceuticals may treat one symptom, but they can create a multitude of other problems in the process. I’m not saying don’t ever resort to them — that’s between you and your doctors — but I am suggesting that you do your own research. There are natural alternatives to many pharmaceutical drugs.

Perhaps try going to a natural health practitioner such as a naturopath. At the end of the day, you choose what goes into your body, so you control a large part of your health. Make informed decisions.


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