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The 7 Most Dangerous Prescription Drugs

A recent Harvard University study notes that 328,000 patients die from prescription drugs each year in the United States and Europe – making it the 4th highest cause of death, similar to stroke. Below are the seven most dangerous of those drugs.

Obviously, we can’t legally tell you to ignore your doctor’s recommendations. We can however, advise you to be informed about the risks.

Take a look at this list of seven of the most dangerous prescription drug types and see how they can hurt you. [1][2]

#1: Sleeping Pills (OTC and prescribed)

The use of sleeping pills has been associated with an increased risk factor for stroke. A study published by Petrov, et. al. in 2014 revealed that over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills increased a person’s risk for stroke, independently and beyond any of the other known risk factors like blood pressure, personal history of heart disease, and vices like smoking and drinking alcohol. Isn’t it worrying that compared to all other factors that place a person at risk for stroke, sleeping pills top that list? [3]

#2: Cholesterol Drugs (Statins)

Did you know that deaths attributed to heart failure more than doubled from 1989 to 1997, while statins were first given pre-market approval in 1987? This is an alarming “coincidence” – to say the least. Interference with production of Co-Q10 by statin drugs has been proposed as the most likely explanation. [4]

Drugs that are meant to control your cholesterol levels may also be damaging your liver. Hepatotoxicity is not completely absent among people who undergo statin therapy, but it is uncommon. However, several studies have discovered that statins cause severe liver damage, especially in in dosages higher than 50 milligrams per day – a scary thing to realize when statin dosages can climb up to 80 milligrams per day when a person has high or uncontrollable cholesterol levels. Atorvastatin, Simvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, and Pravastatin have all been linked to liver injury. [5][6]

#3: Blood Pressure Drugs (Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers)

Among the different drugs prescribed to manage hypertension, calcium channel blockers have been found to be the most common ones linked to adverse drugs reactions (ADRs). The most common ones linked to CCBs are bipedal edema, chest pain, hypersensitivity, and difficulty of breathing. A recent study published in 2014 discovered that immediate-release CCB use was positively associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. On the other hand, beta-blockers have been associated with several adverse side effects, such as increased incidence of post-operative dysrhythmia, troponin elevation, and heart failure, risk for hepatic failure, and small-for-gestational age births. [7][8][9][10][11][12]

#4: Alzheimer’s Drugs

While the positive effects of psychotropic drugs have been well-documented, there have also been studies revealed their adverse effects. A study conducted on the pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s disease found that antipsychotics increased a person’s risk for developing diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and stroke, and even overall mortality. The most popular drug prescribed for Alzheimer’s is Aricept or Donezepil and has been linked to nausea, diarrhea, malaise, dizziness, and insomnia. [13][14]

#5: Arthritis Drugs (NSAIDs)

It is so easy to be prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for pain, and even easier to purchase one from the pharmacy. What most people fail to realize is that NSAIDs are one of the leading causes of drug-related morbidity, especially in elderly and immunocompromised people. They have been directly linked to gastrointestinal problems, destroying the inner lining of the stomach and increasing the risk for ulceration and internal bleeding. Renal effects have also been linked to NSAID use, causing fluid and sodium retention and hypertension (and eventual cardiovascular problems). In worse case scenarios, people with severe kidney problems might even require dialysis. This seemingly innocuous drug is one of if not the most dangerous ones on this list. [15]

#6: Diabetes Drugs (Actos, Avanida, Byetta, Metformin)

Another class of drugs to watch out for are those prescribed to manage high blood sugar, a characteristic symptom of diabetes. Liver damage has been linked to metformin use. In a study focusing on different ADRs, metformin-induced hepatitis was seen in a case of a person taking 500 milligrams of Metformin three times a day and insulin glargine. Liver damage can manifest as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and discoloration of the urine and stool. Further liver damage can cause uncontrollable bleeding and insufficient clearing of toxins from the blood. [16]

#7: Chemotherapy (Tamoxifen)

The one category of drug on the list that is universally regarded as harmful to a person’s health is chemotherapeutic drugs. When people diagnosed with cancer are advised to undergo chemotherapy, they are prepped for the side effects they will undoubtedly experience along with it. Chemotherapeutic drugs are strong enough to kill rapidly proliferating cancer cells – however there is collateral damage: Healthy cells are also killed and it’s the oft-repeated hope with chemotherapy that it “kills the cancer and doesn’t kill you”. Weakness, hair loss, and appetite loss, are the mildest of these side effects, with more serious ones involving blood in the urine or stool, high-grade fever, severe pain over the chemotherapy infusion site, vomiting and diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. [17] Chemotherapy is known to kill a significant number of cancer patients.

Again, please remember: This article is not medical advice. We can, however, advice you to be informed.


  1. World Health Organization. Pharmaceutical Industry.
  2. Thomson Reuters (2015). Global pharma sales to reach $1.3 trillion.
  3. Petrov, M., et. al. (2014). Over-the-Counter and Prescription Sleep Medication and Incident Stroke: The REGARDS Study.
  5. Perdices, E., et. al. (2014). Hepatotoxicity associated with statin use: Analysis of the cases included in the Spanish Hepatotoxicity Registry.
  6. Russo, M., et. al. (2014). The Spectrum of Statin Hepatotoxicity: Experience of the Drug Induced Liver Injury Network.
  7. Tuchinda, P., et. al. (2013). Cutaneous adverse reactions to calcium channel
  8. Blockers.
  9. Clouqueur, E., et. al. (2015). [Adverse effects of calcium channels blockers used as tocolytic treatment].
  10. Chen, Q., et. al. (2014). Association between calcium channel blockers and breast cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies.
  11. Scali, S., et. al. (2015). Preoperative Β-blockers do not improve cardiac outcomes after major elective vascular surgery and may be harmful.
  12. Xie, R., et. al. (2014). Beta-blockers increase the risk of being born small for gestational age or of being institutionalised during infancy.
  13. Kimer, N., et. al. (2015). Beta-blockers in cirrhosis and refractory ascites: a retrospective cohort study and review of the literature.
  14. Chang, K., et. al. (2015). Effect of Psychotropic Drugs on Development of Diabetes Mellitus in Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease.
  15. Dunn, N., et. al. (2014). Adverse effects associated with the use of donepezil in general practice in England.
  16. Wehling, M. (2014). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in chronic pain conditions with special emphasis on the elderly and patients with relevant comorbidities: management and mitigation of risks and adverse effects.
  17. Mancano, M. (2014). Metformin-Induced Hepatitis; Paliperidone-Related Peripheral Edema; Vasospastic Angina Induced by Oral Capecitabine; Skin Hyperpigmentation Due to Long-Term Voriconazole Therapy; Vaccine-Associated Measles.
  18. American Cancer Society. A Guide to Chemotherapy.

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The 7 Most Dangerous Prescription Drugs The 7 Most Dangerous Prescription Drugs Reviewed by matt on 18:31:00 Rating: 5