Top 10 adverse side effects of prescription drugs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has created a fact guide about prescription and obver-the-counter medications. We review the top three classes of prescription drugs typically misused, and their side effects in this brief synopsis.

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What is prescription drug abuse?

When used incorrectly, prescription drugs can cause serious side effects and even addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), three particular classes of drugs are most often abused. But what is prescription drug abuse exactly? And what are the side effects of the major types of drugs that people use?

Prescription drug abuse occurs when you take a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or when you take a medication for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:

1. Depressants – treat anxiety and sleep disorders
2. Pain killers – treat chronic pain
3. Stimulants – treat ADHD and narcolepsy

These medications are only safe to use with other substances under a doctor’s supervision. Typically, these classes of medicines should not be mixed with alcohol or other medications because they tend to speed life-threatening reactions in the body. Furthermore, prescription drugs should always be taken as prescribed. Additional dosage without a doctor’s OK can cause serious health effects and even death.

Top 10 adverse side effects of prescription drug use

1. Death (pain medications, depressants, stimulants)
2. Addiction (pain medications, depressants and stimulants)
3. Potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures (stimulants)
4. Slower heart rate (depressants)
5. Slower breathing or respiration rate (pain medications, depressants)
6. Irregular heart beat (stimulants)
7. High body temperature (stimulants)
8. Hostility or feelings of paranoia (stimulants)
9. Drowsiness (depressants, pain medications)
10. Constipation (pain medications)

What do you think about prescription drug abuse? Feel free to comment on the growing epidemic below. Why do you think it is occurring? How many friends or family do you know that use prescription drugs? Are most people using these drug responsibly? What about teen use of prescription drugs? Your comments and experience are welcomed.

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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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