Top 10 Weirdest Prescription Drug Side Effects

by on January 2, 2012

There is an old adage that says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s era of pill popping, the adage should rightly read, “An ounce of cure can result in a pound of trouble.”

Prescription drugs can be a great way of preventing and treating all sorts of conditions, but their accompanying side effects also ensure that doctors will never go out of business.

1. Colorful Urine

Before the wonders of modern medicine were discovered, urine was often used as a diagnostic tool. The saturation and hue of the urine can indicate a variety of issues and the taste can point to diabetes.

Nowadays, urine can often tell doctors exactly which medication their patient has been taking. Black urine can indicate the ingestion of Flagyl or furazolidone, green may indicates the presence of Elavil or Robaxin, and blue urine is a common side effect of Dyrenium, Urised or Rifampin.

2. Development of Breasts in Men


A large number of prescrption medications can cause the development of breast tissue in men, medically called Gynecomastia, more commonly known as "man boobs". Examples include some antibiotics such as Flagyl and Ketoconazole; anti-ulcer drugs such as Zantac and Omeprazole (Prilosec); Propecia, a treatment for hair loss; some anti-psychotic drugs such as Zoloft, Diazapam (Valium) and Clonazapam; ACE inhibitors such as Lisinopril, Ramipril and Enalapril; and some steroids, alchohol and illegal drugs.

3. Depression

Xanax is a small anti-anxiety pill used to treat a variety of disorders and a prescription drug whose side effects include depression and nervousness. Similarly, patients who take Cymbalta, a medication for fibromyalgia, have a relatively large chance of developing Major Depressive Disorder. It is unlikely that patients with fibromyalgia are looking to develop depression, but if they do develop it, they should be aware that there are a host of treatments available. Of course, the prescription drugs for depression come with their own list of potential side effects.

4. Sudden Death

Studies have shown that the use of Celebrex can increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke leading to death.  Gastrointestinal (think, your stomach) hemorrhaging and ulceration have also been reported and possible linked to some patient deaths.

Adderall, a medication commonly used for the treatment of ADHD, and is often thought to be the cause of sudden death in some cases.  The FDA, however, has found no increased risk of death among those prescribed the drug.

5.  Coughing up Blood & Vomiting

There’s always a chance that a patient with the flu will throw up, but when the patient was given Tamiflu the chance of them vomiting practically doubles. Tamiflu is given as soon as symptoms of influenza appear to prevent the usual discomfort associated with the flu. Patients who are hit with the full array of side effects, which include vomiting and nausea as well as diarrhea and stomach pain, may begin to wonder whether this particular medicine actually helped them feel any better.

Plavix decreases the chances of a heart or stroke by preventing your blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots.  Although the drug is well moderated by most, it can make easy to bleed from even minor cuts.  Some patients may have the unpleasant experience of coughing huge chunks of dark vomit and blood - which is a signing for internal bleeding.

6.  Hepatitis and Jaundice

There is a wide array of prescription drugs available for the treatment of high cholesterol. Many of these drugs, including Lipitor and Crestor, carry a risk of hepatic failure, hepatitis, jaundice, and the like. High cholesterol is a condition that can lead to all sorts of scary things when left untreated, but patients who value their kidneys should double check that their medications are not potentially more dangerous than the condition itself.

7. Vivid and Intense Dreams

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People who are looking to quit smoking can choose to chew gum or slap on a patch, but they also have the option of visiting their doctor and getting a prescription for Chantix. Though the medication is often effective, people taking the medication may have vivid dreams, nightmares, or even night terrors. Ambien and Lunesta have even odder effects on sleep and case studies include reports of people taking part in normal activities like driving or eating while asleep.

8.  Loss of Taste or Smell

Two of the five basic senses, tasting and smelling are integral parts of day to day life. For people taking ACE inhibitors such as Vasotec and Lisinopril, however, taste may be nothing more than a distant memory. ACE inhibitors are used to treat issues such as high blood pressure and symptomatic congestive heart failure, which means that in this case, the side effect may be well worth it when weighed against the risk of a heart attack.

Anosmia is medical lingo for loss of smell and some types of prescription drugs such as anti-depressants, antibiotics, asthma and high blood pressure treatments may be the cause.

9. Addictive Behaviors

addictive behaviors

Addictive behaviors are typically thought to occur as a result of a conglomeration of biological and psychological issues. In some cases, however, the cause is solely biological. Users who take Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease or restless legs syndrome may suddenly find themselves gambling, drinking heavily, or eating obsessively. Mirapex can also cause hallucinations, so this is definitely one prescription drug to monitor carefully.

10.  Behavioral Changes

Intermezzo is a fairly new drug on the market and has recently been approved by the FDA for the treatment of insomnia. Like most sleep aids, the drug can make people feel tired even after a good night’s sleep, but Intermezzo can also make people’s personalities change drastically. Agitation, confusion, acting aggressively, or being excessively outgoing are all personality changes that are included in the side effects warning for Intermezzo.

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