Five common drugs with potentially harmful side effects

Photo by VonaUA/Shutterstock

Taking prescribed or over-the-counter medication appears to be a double-edged sword: treating symptoms of discomfort is important, but unfortunately, many medications have side effects, which may worsen other areas of your health, or even create new ailments.

Being aware of the possible side effects of commonly prescribed medications can help you to make an informed decision about whether or not you should take them. Consider if the relief you gain is really worth the risk of experiencing additional health plights, for example. We’re no experts, but with this information, we’ll let you be the judge.

Anti-anxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines)

Portrait of an attractive senior woman sitting on a sofa at home with a headache, feeling pain and with an expression of being unwell.

Photo by MJTH/Shutterstock


Drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan (just to name a few), have a sedative effect, which is useful in treating a number of conditions. But, because they downplay activity in parts of the brain, they can affect a person’s short term and long term memory, and in some cases, can cause confusion and grogginess, increasing the risk of falls and accidents.

Cholesterol lowering drugs (Statins)  

A generic pack of statins with a stethoscope. A controversial anti cholesterol medication.All logos removed.

Photo by Roger Ashford/Shutterstock

Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Pravachol, Crestor, and Zocor are commonly prescribed to treat high cholesterol, but by depleting the brain’s cholesterol, you also run the risk of memory loss and cognitive issues, not to mention muscle pain, increased blood sugar, and digestive issues.

Muscle relaxants  

Senior woman suffering from neck pain with eyes closed in the medical office

Photo by lightwavemedia/Shutterstock

While the temporary relief of drugs like Flexeril, Robxain, and Soma might help you cope with back pain and other muscular discomfort, they can also lead to grogginess and confusion, constipation, dry mouth, and urination issues. On top of all of this, they’re merely a quick fix for pain, rather than treating the underlying problems.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Photo by Anukool Manoton/Shutterstock

Used to treat pain and inflammation, drugs like Feldene and Indocin can lead to indigestion, ulcers, bleeding in the stomach and/or colon, increased blood pressure, and can also affect your kidneys and heart. Yikes! With numerous natural alternatives available, not to mention more gentle alternatives like Motrin (ibuprofen) and Disalcid (salsalate), this is one pill worth reconsidering.


Hormone Replacement Therapy

Photo by Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

Typically prescribed to women to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, estrogen is something to be cautious of. Taking estrogen can mean an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and dementia, as well as urinary incontinence.

Also on RNR: