At one time or another, we all depend on prescription drugs, hoping that they will cure and heal our physical and mental health problems and diseases.
But there is another problem attached to all of our prescription medicines that we absorb into our bodies called side effects. There seems to be so many of side-effect warnings with each prescription that makes us all wonder "Should I really take this stuff?"
Some of those side effects are usually on all prescription drugs including may cause diarrhea, or dizziness, and caution not to operate a motor vehicle or machinery, or stay away from the sun while taking this medicine. Even in TV commercials the side effect list goes on and on and you can't help but wonder if the side effects are much worse than the condition itself.
Some side effects even tend to be rare and somewhat bizarre. I will now list some of those bizarre side effects starting with the drug Xeloda, which is used for the treatment of different types of cancer. This drug carries side effects such as chronic inflammation of the palms or soles of the feet. It can result in peeling of the skin, bleeding and development of ulcers and blisters. It also causes the very odd and very rare side effect of making your fingerprints completely disappear.
If you happen to be looking to get rid of a bacterial infection, maybe the drug Levaquin is for you. Levaquin has a side effect known as phototoxicity. This is a disorder that can result in an almost immediate sunburn, which can be quite extreme as a third-degree burn, and may even result in ruptured tendons. This bizarre side effect may require treatment from the very medication that caused it in the first place.
The drug Vasotec is used for the treatment of congestive heart failure and for controlling high blood pressure. If you are taking Vasotec, you can experience some problems with all of your five senses including the inability to smell. It can also cause ringing in the ears, blurred vision and dry eyes. These side effects can be seen as minor unless they occur at the same time.
The drug Accutane is used for the treatment of acne. It is no treat to be in high school and have a bad case of acne. But can the treatment be worse? Some of the side effects of this drug include rectal bleeding, and overabundance of rapidly growing hair, psychosis, crying spells and even depression, hepatitis, herpes and even bone fractures. This drug seems to put all of the rest of bizarre side effects to shame.
A good reminder is that you tell your doctor, and maybe even a pharmacist, about all your medications that you take every day, or even once in a while. You should also include over the counter medicines like antacids, painkillers, and tell them how much alcohol you consume. They say that even if a product is not called a drug, your body handles it the same way as if it was one. Did you know that grapefruit juice blunts the effects of an enzyme that actually breaks down drugs? This leads to a higher level of medicine remaining in the blood, which can cause health problems.
All in all, the benefit of taking your medicine usually is expected to be greater than the risk of some suffering from unwanted side effects. It is said that most people take medicines without any or very few side effects, with a reminder that all medicines can cause problems.
A good thing to remember is do not mix alcohol and medicine, unless you get an OK from your doctor.
Today's world is so much different, as doctor's scurry from one office to another with in-between trips to hospitals makes it somewhat less possible to retain all the important data on each patient concerning proper dosage, past and present medicines and the risk and occurrence of any side effects. Our good friend the computer sure comes in handy for those tasks. We all have to be careful and report your side effects immediately.
Whited is a Tribune Chronicle columnist.