The Worst Prescription Drug Side Effects

Everything has a side effect, from coffee to Tylenol to eating too much pizza (that’s called “getting rad”). Most prescription drug side effects are usually not that big a deal. Who cares about having dry mouth when you don’t have blood clots, right? Unfortunately, some side effects are worse – or weirder – than others.

While most start taking a medication with the understanding that it will make them healthy, they rarely realize their brain, gait, and even skin color may change irreversibly. Once you get about halfway through this collection of strange side effects, you’ll start to notice that a lot of medications can really mess you up, unless you’re into having lucid nightmares or disappearing fingerprints.

It’s unrealistic to think there are medications without side effects, but it’s also hard to believe that anyone would willingly subject their body to something knowing that there’s a small chance it could make them kill their family. This isn’t meant to be alarmist, but as Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” If you’re genuinely worried, talk to your .


If you’re someone who loves the way you walk, then you should find another way to treat your schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Not only does Olanzapine come with the possibility of giving you an “abnormal gait,” but it also comes with “cogwheel rigidity” and a “mask-like face.”


For those of you with someone in your life who’s dealing with Parkinson’s disease or restless leg syndrome, you may be familiar with Mirapex. Hopefully, they aren’t also fighting off unusual urges to gamble.


Ortho-Novum is one of the most popular birth control pills on the market. And while it is a contraceptive, some women use it to treat severe acne. Great! What’s not so great is that it can cause benign but dangerous liver tumors that can rupture and cause internal bleeding

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If you or someone you know has very intense asthma, then you’ve probably seen one of Advair’s purple inhalers. In a sick twist, one of the possible side effects listed on Advair’s website is asthma-related death. You just can’t win when you’ve got lung problems.


Chantix is one of the most popular medications used to stop smoking. It has a lot of side effects, but the eeriest one is that it can turn your dreams into Cronenbergian nightmares, according to this New York magazine writer:

Every time I’d drift off, I’d dream that an invisible, malevolent entity was emanating from my air conditioner, which seemed to be rattling even more than usual. I’d nap for twenty minutes or so before bolting awake with an involuntary gasp. I had the uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone.


For people trying to treat severe acne, Accutane is one of the many lifelines that can clear up your skin. But with that kind of self-confidence comes this unsettling and vague side effect: “changes in your fingernails.” There’s also the possibility of hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.


Celebrex is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis symptoms. If you’re under 25 and reading this, don’t worry about having to use Celebrex because you’ll stay young forever. For everyone else, maybe consider a different medication. Celebrex might ease your joint pain, but it can also make you cough up blood or cause changes in urination.


Hopefully, you’ll never have to take Plavix, because it’s used to prevent blood clots in those who’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke. But while getting rid of those pesky clots, it can also cause uncontrollable gum bleeding or make you vomit up something that looks like coffee grounds.

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Lariam is an anti-malarial drug given to a lot of people who take trips to South , Asia, and Africa. Many people have reported muscle pain or diarrhea after taking the medication, and some have even exhibited symptoms similar to PTSD.


If you’re suffering from insomnia, or if your life is just too normal, Ambien might be the medication for you. While Ambien does a pretty good job of knocking you out, it can also cause severe sleepwalking, which can mean anything from sleep driving to sexsomnia to sleep eating.


Thalidomide is used to treat multiple myeloma. But some of its pesky side effects can include severe, permanent never damage and other types of cancer. 


One of the most popular cholesterol medications on the market, Crestor lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack while potentially making you more confused and forgetful and ratcheting up female aggression.


Another Parkinson’s medication, Ropinirole has been known to make users fall asleep during their daily activities and have hallucinations. 


Do you like your fingerprints? Do you have cancer? If your answers were no and yes respectively, then you’re in luck, because taking Xeloda can make your fingerprints disappear.


Men all over the world use Propecia to treat their loss. It may not be the best solution, but it’s better than spending thousands on a wig. Or is it? There are some normal side effects to taking Propecia, but one of the most disconcerting is “abnormal ejaculation.” You might be wondering what that means. Are men who use Propecia ejaculating spiders? No, it simply refers to a reduced sex drive and possible infertility.

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Vasotec is one of many medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. But it can also rob you of your sense of smell. Hopefully, you’re not planning on a flower-smelling trip anytime soon. Is that a thing?


Zoloft is used to treat depression, severe OCD, and many other mental disorders. But its list of side effects is longer than the list of maladies it treats. Some of Zoloft’s weirdest side effects are “overactive reflexes” and “unusual secretion of milk (in females).”


If you’re treating your acne with Isotretinoin, try not to drive after the sun goes down, because it may decrease your night vision. Also, be prepared to have “unusually warm skin of the face.” 


If you’re taking Adderall to treat your ADHD, you probably already know that it can make you restless, but did you know that you’re more likely to believe lies – or are you?


Amiodarone is a heavy duty drug that’s used to regulate your heartbeat and help your blood flow at a normal rate. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this life-saving medication is “blue-gray coloring of the skin on the face, neck, and arms” and another thing called “no breathing.”