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Dangers of common prescription drugs

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2020 | blog

Many people take prescription drugs to control chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, dangerous complications can arise, especially if you must take multiple medications. 

Harvard Health Letter recommends awareness of side effects if your doctor has prescribed these common medications. 

Cholesterol medications 

If you have high LDL cholesterol, you may receive a prescription for statins. These drugs reduce the risk of life-threatening stroke and cardiac arrest. However, a side effect of severe muscle aches can signal kidney failure because of excess muscle proteins. Seek medical attention if you experience that symptom when taking: 

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor) 
  • Lovastatin (Mevacor) 
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor) 
  • Simvastatin (Zocor) 

High blood pressure medications 

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors limit the body’s production of angiotensin, which helps the blood vessels expand. You may experience rapid throat and tongue swelling with an allergic reaction to this medication. This side effect, called angioedema, can occur with: 

  • Captopril (Capoten) 
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil) 
  • Ramipril (Altace) 

Diabetes drugs 

Many people with type 2 diabetes receive a prescription for metformin (Riomet), which limits glucose production by the liver. It also limits the amount of glucose absorbed by the liver and increases cell responsiveness to insulin, which helps the cells absorb glucose. 

With this drug, be aware of low blood pressure and low body temperature. This occurs when lactic acid builds up in the blood. Seek medical help for rapid breathing, unexplained exhaustion, sharp abdominal pain or muscle pain. 

Over-the-counter medication 

Liver damage can result from more than 3,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) each day. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk for stroke, kidney problems, cardiac issues such as high blood pressure, and ulcers and other digestive issues. If you frequently take these drugs according to a recommendation from your doctor, make sure you stick to the recommended dose. 

In general, tell your doctor anytime you experience an unexpected side effect when taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Make sure your doctor knows about all your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements so he or she can watch for potential drug interactions.