Symptom-worsening effects of common medications

Millions of prescriptions for highly profitable drugs are handed out each year by doctors – even though the ‘clinical trials’ which made them available often show them to be barely more effective than placebos. At the same time, sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as pain killers bring in equally huge profits – despite often leading to chronic dependency. The counter-productivity of their possible side effects (doing the very opposite of what they are prescribed for) and the often severe and chronic withdrawal symptoms generated by different classes of common legal drug medications is shown below – using information from the makers and users of these drugs, together with the ‘small print’ in the instructions and warnings to patients that come with them.

Drug class: anxiolytics (a new name for tranquilisers)

Side effects and/or addiction symptoms – acute and chronic anxiety, irritability and restlessness, panic attacks, seizures, chronic sleep difficulties, muscular tension, flu-like symptoms, dental problems, abdominal symptoms, neuralgia 


Drug class: sleeping pills Side effects and/or addiction symptoms – chronic rebound insomnia, nightmares


Drug class: anti-depressants (SSRI-type such as Seroxat/Paxil/Prozac )

Side effects and/or addiction symptoms – depressive or manic symptoms, suicidal thoughts, suicide, aggressive behaviour or extreme violence.  A safety review for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  found that that  Prozac “may exacerbate certain depressive symptoms and signs” . Worse still, an FDA  report linked Prozac to an estimated 173,000 deaths, 108,ooo suicides and 188,00 suicide attempts.

Drug class: analgesics (pain killers or headache pills such as codeine or paracetemol)

Side effects and/or addiction symptoms –  nausea, chronic or recurrent  rebound headaches and painSee also Times article: Are we all addicted to painkillers?


Drug class: anti-convulsants (for epilepsy, nerve pain and seizures)

Side effects or addiction symptoms – nausea, depression, suicidal thoughts, skin rashes, seizures


Drug class: antibiotics (for bacterial infections)

Side effects: increased susceptibility to infection from resistant bacteria


Drug class: bisposhate bone drugs (for osteoporosis and brittle bones)

Side effects: increased risk of bone fracture


Drug class: prescription skin creams (for skin disorders or infections)

Side effects: acute or chronic skin damage and disorders, infections or inflammations


Drug class: statins (for reducing cholesterol and protecting from heart attacks & strokes)

Side effects: heart attacks, strokes and death


Drug class: vaccines 

Side effects: increased susceptibility to infection (for example to flu, measles, polio etc.)


Drug class: chemotherapy cancer drugs

Side effects:  “It is ironic but true that many cancer chemotherapies are known to
cause cancers.” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society


Drug class: antacids, heartburn and gastric ulcer medications                                                                                      

Side effects:stomach ache, diarrhoea, constipation, feeling sick, vomiting


Drug class: nasal decongestant sprays/allergy and hay fever sprays            

Side effects: ‘rebound’ congestion after 3 to 7 days of use. Permanent damage to nasal mucosa. If using steroid-based sprays: loss of cognitive function, memory and concentration impairment, acute or long-term mood disorders, dementia and psychotic episodes (not mentioned in patient information leaflets).


EXAMPLE: below is a list of side effects included in the maker’s own patient information leaflet for a SKIN CREAM currently prescribed for skin infections, reddening, swelling and itchiness and a variety of other skin conditions and disorders.

LISTED SIDE EFFECTS: Severe rash, burning and stinging feeling, skin irritation, itching skin, worsening of your exzema, thinning of the skin, small veins near the surface of the skin become visible, stretch marks, itchy rash and skin inflammation in the area where the medicine is used, red spotting rash around the mouth or chin, skin of the face may become puffy, irritation to the eyes and mucus membranes (such as lips or genital area).

A patient information leaflet accompanying another prescription drug included the instruction to “Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects…”. The ‘side effects’ then listed included the following: ‘muscular weakness’, ‘loss of consciousness’, ‘coma’, ‘death’ (!)

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to the Existential Medicine Forum and receive notifications of new articles and posts by email.

    Join 287 other subscribers
  • Heidegger, Medicine and 'Scientific Method'

    Heidegger, Medicine and 'Scientific Method'

  • from Psychosomatics to Soma-Semiotics

  • The Illness is the Cure

  • frontcover of Meditation and Mental Health

    Meditation and Mental Health

  • Meaning-full Disease by Brian Broom

  • Somatic Illness and the Patient's Other Story by Brian Broom

  • Dreaming Body

    Working with the Dreaming Body by Arnold Mindell

  • Medical Nemesis frontcover

    Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich

  • Fear of the Invisible cover

    Fear of the Invisible by Janine Roberts

  • The Doctor, His Patient and the Illness by Michael Balint

  • way towards health frontcover

    The Way towards Health - a seth book by Jane Roberts

  • Why do we fall ill by Luis Chiozza

  • Why do People Get Ill by Darian Leader/David Corfield

  • Warum wird man krank? by V. von Weizsaecker

  • Biology as Ideology front cover

    Biology as Ideology by R. C. Lewontin

  • Overdiagnosed by H. Gilbert Welch

  • Illness: the cry of the flesh by Havi Carel

  • Medicine, rationality and experience by Byron J. Good

  • The Illness Narratives by Arthur Kleinman

%d bloggers like this: