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How Many Prescription Drug Side Effects Do You Have?

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They say it fast at the end of commercials in such a ridiculous manner that we often parody the announcers: This drug may cause side effects. Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication... But the reality is not something we should speed over so quickly. More than 65 percent of Americans are regularly taking prescription medications of some sorts. In fact, prescription drug-related deaths claim more than 100,000 lives every year and cause millions more cases of serious side effects.

Author Melody Peterson (Our Daily Meds) says that the 100,000 noted annual deaths are just from side effects that have been identified. The reality is that there may be many more contraindications and issues related to prescription drugs.

The most common side effects of prescription drugs include drowsiness, allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting, and heart problems like irregular or accelerated heart beat.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Despite passing through the clinical trial phases before getting final FDA approval, new side effects can appear once the drug is used en masse. For example, Accutane, a drug widely used to treat acne, was connected with serious depression and suicidal tendencies only after it was on the market. It has also been linked to serious gastrointestinal issues including irritable bowel syndrome. It was pulled off the market in 2009. Vioxx, a COX-2 inhibitor used to treat pain common with arthritis was pulled off the market after a connection to serious risks of heart disease was discovered. Diet drug Fen-Phen was pulled from the market in 1997 for a connection to fatal heart and lung disorders.

And according to, the following are all prescription drug related side effects. But many more certainly exist: 

· Drainage, crusting, or oozing of your eyes or eyelids

· Swollen, black, or "hairy" tongue

· Changes in the shape or location of body fat

· Decrease in testicle size

· Sores or swelling in your rectal or genital area

· Blue lips or fingernails

· Purple spots on your skin

· White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips

· Irregular back-and- forth movements of your eyes

· Enlarged breasts in males.

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From the Organic Authority Files

· Unusual risk-taking behavior, no fear of danger

· Extreme fear

· Hallucinations, fainting, coma

· Fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer

· Paralysis

· Thoracic Hematoma (bleeding into your chest)

· A blood clot in your lung

· Liver damage

· Kidney damage

· A lump in your breast

· Decreased bone marrow function

· Congestive heart failure

· Shingles

· Nerve pain lasting for several weeks or months

· Bleeding that will not stop

· Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Ano Lobb. @healthyrx

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