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Ironic Prescription Drug Side Effects

If you don’t pay close attention, all kinds of things can pass by you without being noticed.

Take for example the ironic side effects of some very well-known prescription drugs. Some of these drugs actually cause the problems they are supposed to be treating!

Here are a few of the more ironic ones:

Chemotherapy Drugs

As you probably know, chemotherapy drugs are some of the high-powered weapons in western medicine’s arsenal of anti-cancer treatments. And if you’ve ever known someone going through the process, you know that there are some obvious side effects, typically nausea, vomiting, hair loss, anemia and general fatigue.

But what you may not know is that many of these drugs have been shown to… wait for it… cause cancer!

Chemotherapy patients are 14 times more likely to develop Leukemia than patients who have not undergone Chemotherapy and Chemotherapy patients are 6 times more likely to develop Cancer of the Bones, Joints and soft tissue.

Osteoporosis Drugs

You’ve likely seen the commercials showing Sally Fields raving about her favorite drug to stop bone loss. The one she mentions is one of a class of drugs called bisphosphonates that includes Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast, Atelvia and Actonel.

You’d think that a drug designed to reverse bone loss would make bones stronger and less likely to break. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. Just last month the FDA released information saying that people treated with these drugs are more likely to have bone fractures than people who don’t take them.

Cholesterol Medications

Leaving aside for the moment that there hasn’t ever been a single scientific study showing that high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease, one of the ironic side effects of these drugs (collectively referred to as “statins”) is that they lower the body’s store of Co-Q10.

The irony is that Co-Q10 is a crucial enzyme that gives cells more energy. This is particularly true of heart muscle cells. The lower someone’s Co-Q10 levels, the more likely they are to have a heart attack.

What To Do With This Information

Does this mean nobody should ever take prescription drugs? No.

However it does strongly reinforce the idea that any time your physician recommends taking a prescription drug it’s important to ask about all the possible side effects.

And you may want to get in the habit of doing an internet search for the side effects of any drug you consider taking. I recommend searching with the drug name and the words, “side effects.”

 All the best to you for your health and happiness,

 

Dr. Bruce


Sources: 

  1. FDA Announcement of Increased Fracture Risk for Bisphosphonates
  2. Rosenfeldt F, Hilton D, Pepe S, Krum H. Systematic review of effect of coenzyme Q10 in physical exercise, hypertension, and heart failure. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):91-100.
  3. Weant KA, Smith KM. The role of coenzyme Q10 in heart failure. Ann Pharmacother. 2005;39(9):1522-6.
  4. CNN Q & A on Chemo Drugs Causing a Second Malignancy – written by Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer at the American Cancer Society
  5. Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Lorraine BoegleNovember 4, 2010, 3:41 am

    Speaking of Statins, I ask my cardiologist about 2 months ago why I was still on Lipitor, his reply was you are not on Lipitor.

    I explained to him that I had been on Lipitor since Jan of 2008 when I suffered cardiac arrest, it had been prescribed by an AZ doctor, my primary care doctor never took me off of it.

    The cardioligist took me off of it immediately, I have had my full panel done and everything is normal, I never showed high colesterol or any other abnormalities!

  • Dr. BruceNovember 4, 2010, 7:45 am

    Hi Lorraine,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It reinforces how important it is that we all take responsibility to double check what our physicians are doing. They’re often so busy that they miss some of the details about what’s going on with individual patients. It’s outstanding that you were able to get this oversight corrected!

    Dr. Bruce

  • Orchid Recovery CenterJuly 22, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Thank you for this post. This may not make any sense to you- but it has helped me. Thanks again!

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