These Common Medications Could Have Terrifying Side Effects

Prednisone Can Cause You To Become Shorter Prednisone is a common oral steroid medication used to treat everything from gout to ulcerative colitis, asthma, and arthritis… Trista - October 31, 2022
Mayo Clinic

Prednisone Can Cause You To Become Shorter

Prednisone is a common oral steroid medication used to treat everything from gout to ulcerative colitis, asthma, and arthritis flare-ups. This medication can cause many side effects, which isn’t surprising since it’s such an effective steroid. One unexpected side effect of this medication, though, when taken over a long period, is that it can cause a decrease in height. Although we aren’t sure exactly why it causes this to happen, it sure is something interesting and unexpected. Another side effect that can become serious quite quickly is that Prednisone causes blood glucose to rise to high numbers, which can be very dangerous, whether you have diabetes or not. If you do not have diabetes, taking this medication over an extended amount of time could cause you to develop diabetes. Take this medicine with caution.

Harvard Health

Testosterone Will Deplete Your Sperm Count 

Testosterone is a hormone everyone has in their body, whether male or female. However, males have it way more than females. It’s also an increasingly popular drug that supposedly makes you stratospherically manlier because it makes you build up muscle mass quickly. The most ironic thing about this medication is the side effects that it causes. It depletes your sperm count in males. You can probably guess why it’s ironic. Although women don’t have to worry about this happening, men should keep this in mind, especially if they want to conceive a child with someone. 


Prozac Makes You Feel Extra Thirsty

This one may sound like a strange side effect, especially since doctors aren’t entirely sure why it even occurs when taking Prozac. This medication can treat depression, but along with it, helping you to feel better mentally and gives you a near unquenchable level of thirst. If you are taking this medicine, you might want to ensure that you have a bottle of water or two with you at all times, especially when you are out and about with no one to stop and grab a drink. You want to be sure that you are hydrated when taking Prozac.

Sleeping Pills Can Cause Sleep Walking 

There is no doubt that sleeping pills do just that, help you sleep. They sometimes can work so well that you may develop a case of parasomnia. To put it into layman’s terms, sleeping pills can cause you to sleepwalk. This can even occur if you aren’t even known to sleepwalk before. The more often you take these pills, the more your body will depend on needing them to help you sleep, and the more chances you have to sleepwalk. So be careful when taking sleeping pills because you could easily hurt yourself while sleepwalking.

Zyrtec Can Make It Hard For You To Pee

If you suffer from allergies, whether they’re seasonal or year-round, you may be recommended to give Zyrtec a try to treat your symptoms. It may not make much sense, but Zyrtec can cause difficulties with urinating. This medication is a popular antihistamine, so using the bathroom and taking this medication don’t seem to have a connection, hence how it made this list. Because of this side effect, you may want to be careful with taking it alongside Prozac. Since you will probably be guzzling down water from the side effect of Prozac, mix that with difficulty peeing, and you have a serious problem on your hands. 

Mayo Clinic

Omeprazole And Kidney Problems

Omeprazole is a medication used to treat your stomach when you have too much acid, also known as acid reflux or heartburn, and to treat ulcers. However, this medicine may lead to chronic kidney disease, which can quickly become very serious. Renal damage from Omeprazole may result from the drug’s deposition and its metabolites in renal tissue. This may turn into renal interstitial fibrosis, leading to the lesion’s chronicity and the onset of chronic kidney disease. So, if you notice anything unusual or experience anything that may point to kidney problems and are taking Omeprazole, notify your doctor immediately. 


Proscar And Hair Growth

Proscar is a medication doctors prescribe to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. This condition is a pathological process where the prostate gland compresses the urethra, causing the flow of urine to slow or become blocked in males. Finasteride is the active ingredient in Proscar. It is also the active ingredient in Propecia, a drug to promote hair growth in those with male baldness. To sum it up, if someone is taking this medication to treat their BPH and is also bald, they could also experience hair growth. Just don’t be surprised if you notice hair growth anywhere else besides just the top of your head.


Viagra Can Help Improve Heart Health

As discussed above, Viagra is a common medication used to help men maintain an erection. This is because it helps to increase the blood flow to the penis by relaxing the smooth muscle. But that’s not the only thing this medication might do. Viagra may also have a very beneficial side effect because it may improve heart health. This drug is a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, which may work to enhance cardiac contractility. We’re pretty sure, though, that if you’re taking this medication for your heart health, you still need to keep that other side effect from this medicine in mind in case it is ongoing for more than four hours. 

Medline Plus

Baclofen Can Give Heartburn Relief

Baclofen is a skeletal muscle relaxant that inhibits muscle spasms and reflexes by targeting the spinal cord nerves. More specifically, this medication can help treat muscle spasticity, which involves unwanted contractions that are also continuous on one or more muscle groups. While taking Baclofen, patients have reported relief from their heartburn without taking antacid medication. So, if you think about it, this drug kills two birds with one stone. If you suffer from muscle spasms and acid reflux, this medicine could be of real use to you. This is one side effect we wouldn’t mind having. 


Oral Contraceptive Pills Can Help Treat Acne

Many young women have noticed that their acne, if they have any, seems to get better while taking oral contraceptive pills or birth control to prevent pregnancy. This isn’t just a coincidence, either. The hormones in the pills cause these side effects, which are progesterone and estrogen. Science shows that this form of birth control effectively reduces inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions secondary to facial acne. Researchers discovered that it depends on the specific types of estrogen and progesterone. Certain oral contraceptive pills are more effective in treating acne than others. 

Hopkins Medicine

Tamiflu Can Cause Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Tamiflu can help treat the flu. A doctor prescribes it for a patient, but you should follow the label. If left untreated, a side effect that can become serious is known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, or TEN. This condition is a life-threatening skin reaction, and you should not ignore it. This condition is serious because TEN covers more than 30% of the body’s surface. It usually starts with body aches, a fever, and other symptoms that resemble the flu. After having these symptoms for a few days, you should take action. If you don’t seek treatment, you will likely develop a quite painful rash in some regions of the body. Your skin may even start to blister and peel. 


Nexavar Can Cause Hand-Foot Syndrome 

Nexavar is a medication used to treat liver, kidney, and thyroid cancer. It works by stopping the growth of cancer cells in their tracks. A common side effect, and a probably unexpected one at that, is called hand-foot syndrome. This is a side effect from Nexavar and other medications that treat cancer and target blood vessels, including the ones in the hands and feet. Hand foot syndrome results from the medication leaking out of the blood vessels and damaging surrounding tissues. This side effect usually presents itself as swelling, redness, and pain on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. Blisters may even appear as well as a tingling feeling, difficulty walking or using your hands, or sensitivity to touch. 


Azithromycin May Cause You To Lose Sense Of Smell

We may not think losing our sense of smell would be a big deal, but it’s one of those things that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, losing your sense of smell can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Azithromycin is a medication that can cause this strange side effect. This medication treats certain bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sexually transmitted diseases, and infections of the lungs, sinuses, ears, skin, and reproductive organs. Although other things can also cause you to lose your sense of smell, you can easily make a connection if you suddenly cannot smell things and are on this medication. 


Metoclopramide And Akathisia 

If someone is suffering from nausea and needs to be treated medically, they may be prescribed Metoclopramide. Although it may not be as common as some other anti-nausea medications, this can cause an odd side effect known as Akathisia. Akathisia is the inability to sit still, no matter if you are standing or sitting. It causes a feeling of inner restlessness and unease, which can become quite uncomfortable for some. Other medications that can cause this type of reaction include prochlorperazine. That is another type of anti-nausea medication. Issues come from antipsychotic drugs like ziprasidone, aripiprazole, and haloperidol, too. If you are experiencing this side effect while taking Metoclopramide, notify your doctor if it becomes too much for you to deal with. 

Medline Plus

Abilify Can Cause Unusual Impulsive Behaviors

Aripiprazole, or Abilify for easier pronunciation, is a medication used along or together with other medicines to treat mental conditions, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar one disorder, and schizophrenia. Doctors sometimes prescribe this drug to help treat irritability with Tourette syndrome and autistic disorder. Abilify can sometimes cause changes in behavior in those taking it. This doesn’t come as such a surprise because they can helptreat a mental disorder to begin with. In rare and severe cases, Abilify and other medications like it can cause intense gambling or even sexual urges. Basically, you have unusual impulses. That can include binge eating or spending money.

Cleveland Clinic

Naproxen And Onycholysis

Naproxen is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Doctors prescribe it to relieve symptoms such as inflammation, stiffness, swelling, joint pain, and even headaches. A side effect caused by naproxen is known as Onycholysis. When you are experiencing this condition, you will notice your fingernails or toenails are separating from their nail beds. This can become serious if left untreated. Why? Because an infection can occur under the nail. Thus, it can cause even more serious damage. So, if you notice any unusual changes in your finger or toenails, it’s best to contact your doctor right away. That way, you can quickly and properly treat it. 


Singulair Can Cause Abnormal Dreams 

Singulair, or Montelusk, may affect your dreams, not always in a good way. This is a bit strange to us because it doesn’t sound like a medication to treat allergies. Sometimes, asthma can lead to abnormal dreams. Furthermore, this medication may cause vivid dreams or even nightmares. It isn’t the only medication that can cause this, either. Even nicotine patches have been known to cause this side effect. This could be a cool side effect, only if you got to choose for yourself what kind of dreams you would have. Nightmares and anything else strange in dreamland doesn’t sound like too much fun.


Ritalin Can Cause Priapism

We have already covered what priapism was, but in case you forgot, it means to have a prolonged erection that lasts for more than 4 hours. This side effect is rare and painful if you can imagine. Ritalin, a medication used to treat those with ADHD, has been linked to this side effect. Like Viagra, if you take Ritalin and notice this side effect, contact your doctor immediately. The same thing could happen to your penis with Viagra if you had an erection for too long. And as you know, this could become quite serious. 


Flagyl May Lead To Nerve Damage

Flagyl is an antibiotic that kills bacteria and parasites that cause infections in the body. People can take it to treat infections of the lungs, bones, blood, genital tract, brain, stomach, pelvic area, and intestines. A side effect of this medication is neuropathy, or nerve damage. Common symptoms of this condition include numbness, tingling, and sensitivity to touch. Muscle weakness or loss has also been known to occur. Other medications are known to cause nerve damage as well. This includes certain heart and blood pressure medications, such as Hydralazine and Pacerone, and seizure medications like phenytoin and carbamazepine, among other medicines.

Dyrenium Causes Your Pee To Turn Blue

Believe it or not, many drugs can cause your urine to become a different color than it should be, but certain hues may be more alarming than others. Some medications can cause your urine to turn orange, red, dark brown, or even black. That would probably look scary if you didn’t expect it. A medication sometimes turns urine blue, which would be even more unexpected. A strange and unusual side effect caused by Dyrenium does just that. Dyrenium is a medication used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention. Although blue urine, or any other color, would be interesting, these abnormal colors could also be a sign that something more is wrong with your body, such as dehydration or, much worse, internal bleeding. 

ABC News

Xeloda And Disappearing Fingerprints 

This has to probably be one of the strangest side effects we have ever heard of. A medication known as Capecitabine, or Xeloda, is prescribed to patients to treat their cancer. On rare occasions, however, patients taking this drug have lost their fingerprints. It is actually a side effect of Hand Foot Syndrome. In one case, in particular, US customs detained a 62-year-old male patient with metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma in December of 2008. This was because when immigration officers at the airport tried to fingerprint him, they could not detect his prints. Later on, they told him to travel with a letter from his oncologist confirming his condition and treatment that is the cause of it.

Ambien Can Cause Parasomnias 

There happens to be a street name for this crazy side effect caused by Ambien. Some people call it Ambien Zombie. Why? Because it describes individuals who perform bizarre behaviors while asleep and have zero memory of what happened when they wake up. As discussed, it’s not uncommon for sleeping medications to cause sleepwalking, and it is probably one of the craziest sedatives that cause this side effect. Some who have used this drug to help sleep have developed parasomnias. This means the performance of certain behaviors while asleep, such as eating and cooking, having sex or conversations, or even having sex. In some cases, people have engaged in bizarre behaviors like eating eggshells or cigarettes.


Mirapex Can Cause Amnesia 

A medication used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and also those with restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is known as Mirapex, or Pramipexole. Some medications may cause forgetfulness or brain fog; however, they don’t typically cause amnesia. Usually, when we think of amnesia, we suppose someone got hit in the head with something or went through a traumatic event. Believe it or not, though, some prescription medications can also cause amnesia, and Mirapex is one of them. However, it’s incredibly rare for it to cause total amnesia. Did you lose time and memories while taking this medication? Consult with your doctor and see what you should do next.

Branding Mag

Vasotec Can Cause Problems With Your Senses 

Vasotec makes this list with having a bit of a strange side effect. Doctors prescribe it to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It can affect one or maybe two senses, but it can also mess with all five of your senses. This medication can cause ringing in your ears, or tinnitus. It can cause you to lose your sense of taste and smell, a condition known as anosmia. Furthermore, you can experience eye problems. That includes dry eyes and blurred vision. Sure, some of these side effects are more minor than others on this list. But, if you are experiencing all these side effects at once, you might change your mind about how major they can be for one person.

Allegra Can Cause Aches And Pains 

Allegra is an antihistamine taken by those who want or need relief from their allergy symptoms. We all know that plenty of medications, both over the counter and prescribed, help treat aches and pains. However, we don’t really consider how some medicines can cause the aches and pains you’re experiencing. At this point, not only would you be taking medication to treat something, but you’d also need to take another drug to combat the side effects of the other medicine. People taking Allegra have aches and pains as a side effect, without a specific cause as to why Allegra causes it.

Neurology Diagnostics

Mirapex Can Make You Hallucinate

We already discussed this medication, but it’s no surprise that this side effect has also made this list. Mirapex is used to treat those who have Parkinson’s disease. Visual and auditory hallucinations are one of its other strange side effects. In certain situations, this can be serious and unexpected. Parkinson’s disease patients see everything from snakes crawling up the walls to people hiding in their closets while taking Mirapex. Although this may make you want to stop this medication, sometimes you must eliminate the good and bad. The good thing is you wouldn’t have this side effect anymore. The bad thing would mean the tremors and other impairments are likely to return.


Chantix And Strange Sleep Behaviors 

As mentioned previously, many sleeping medications can affect how you sleep and what you do during that time. We’ve all experienced at least one weird dream, right? If you take Chantix to help you quit smoking, you might notice how you have disturbing dreams just about every time you go to sleep. Yes, prescription pills can cause some users to sleepwalk or behave violently while asleep. However, this medication doesn’t even have anything to do with sleeping. Yet, it can still affect your quality of sleep. Although bad dreams are a lesser side effect of Chantix, a prescription medication designed to help you stop smoking makes it a weird side effect. Night terrors are scary, and those who experience them are also sometimes struck with fear. They can wake up partially, but they may not wake up completely. Furthermore, they may not remember the incident the following morning. Nevertheless, this still makes for poor sleep quality. 

RX List

Lariam Linked To Suicidal Thoughts 

Lariam is a medication to treat those with malaria, which is a parasitic disease. This medication may cause very unpleasant side effects. Lariam leads to hallucinations but also a much more serious side effect: suicidal thoughts. This drug can lead to suicide for some soldiers. Furthermore, it is also the reason behind the murders of several soldiers’ wives. After learning this, it is no surprise that Lariam can lead to not only suicidal ideation but also paranoia in patients taking it. 

James Douglas / Echo News

Thalidomide Causes Birth Defects In Unborn Babies 

The drug is teratogenic when a medication can interfere with fetal development and lead to congenital disabilities. While several prescription drugs work quite well to resolve the condition, some of these medicines are also teratogenic. If you get pregnant, your doctor will give you a list of things that are okay to take and what to avoid. Thalidomide came about in Germany in the 1950s. They used it as a sleeping aid and anti-nausea pill for thousands of pregnant women in nearly 50 countries. However, researchers didn’t say this was safe for pregnant women to ingest during that time. Between 1956 and 1962, almost 10,000 pregnant women who took this medication gave birth to babies with congenital disabilities. These defects lead to the term “flipper babies” because these children were born with extremely short limbs or even missing. This is definitely a medication you need to stay away from when pregnant.

Runners World

Xenical Gives You Bowel Control Issues 

Although it may be an embarrassing subject to talk about, weight loss isn’t anything new. Something more embarrassing than that, though? How about fecal incontinence, where you can’t control your bowels? Because that’s what you deal with when taking Xenical. You can now buy it as an over-the-counter medicine in a lower dosage, aka Alli. This medication helps prevent the body from absorbing fat, decreasing the calorie intake in those who take it. When taking Xenical, you must follow a low-fat diet of around 15 grams of fat per meal. If you consume more fat, the side effects will get you. These include increased bowel movements, an urgent need to have them, gas with oily discharge, and an inability to control your bowels, especially after meals that constrain higher amounts of fat than recommended.

Sally Pattison

Omeprazole Can Cause Bloating And Gas

As discussed, Omeprazole made the list for yet another strange side effect. Although it may not be nearly as odd as others on this list, it still can cause an embarrassing side effect. While it’s not nearly as bad as not being able to control your bowels, it’s a little similar to that in a way. Omeprazole, also known as Prilosec, is an antacid, and it’s taken to treat acid reflux or heartburn. It can, however, cause bloating and flatulence, which can be embarrassing when out in public or around others. Medications that usually contain sugars, lactose, or sorbitol used to treat constipation, as well as antacids with calcium carbonate, can cause bloating and gas, so it’s not a surprise that this is a side effect of this medication. 


Zoloft Causes Sexual Frustrations 

The most common and frustrating side effects of a medication would be losing the ability to perform in the bedroom or even enjoy sex in general. This side effect comes from some drugs that treat depression. So, while you may feel better mentally, this could be very frustrating or discouraging. Antidepressants are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, and a few on the list you may have heard of that also has this side effect besides Zoloft would be Celexa and Prozac. This reaction is the opposite of what another antidepressant, Trazodone, has to offer, which can cause painful erections lasting for more than four hours. 


Zyprexa Causes Major Weight Gain 

No one likes putting on a ton of weight, especially in such a short time. But that’s what you would get if you took Zyprexa to treat your bipolar disorder. Researchers discovered that some people taking this medication to treat their condition gained nearly 20 pounds in just three months. Zyprexa isn’t the only medication that can cause this depressing side effect. Other common medications that cause unintended weight gain include antidepressants, birth control, steroids, hormone replacement therapies, and even diabetes medications. The last is odd because when you have diabetes, it’s essential not to be overweight to help control blood glucose better. 


Ciprofloxacin Can Cause You to Tear A Tendon

This side effect does not sound pleasant in the least, and you will understand that, too. Because you wouldn’t expect tearing a tendon when taking a medication to treat an infection in the lungs, urinary tract, etc., but that’s what can happen if you’re taking Ciprofloxacin or Cipro. Taking this medication could cause you to rupture your Achilles tendon, and the FDA is well aware of it, writing it down in their warning when taking this medication description. This is apparently known to happen for the class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. According to the FDA, swelling, pain, and tears of tendons in the shoulder, heel, and hand are more likely to happen when taking these types of drugs. Levofloxacin, or Levaquin, is another common antibiotic with this strange side effect.


Female Oral Contraceptives Can Cause Blood Clots

Blood clots form in the body in response to injury. Some prescription medications, though, have been associated with the formation of blood clots. Female oral contraceptives and hormone therapy drugs all carry the increased risk of blood clots forming, and sometimes you aren’t even aware it’s happening until it’s too late. So, pay attention to your body if you take birth control pills or other hormonal supplements. Why? Because if you leave blood clots untreated, they can break away from their original place and travel to other parts of the body. Blood clots can easily become life-threatening. All testosterone supplements share the same risk for blood clots as well.