The most dangerous drugs in your medicine cabinet

Are these prescriptions in your medicine cabinet?

Research reveals that for Americans age 65 or older, 5 out of 6 people take at least one of the dangerous prescriptions listed below. And nearly half of people take at least three prescriptions or more.

This list contains medications that carry the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s highest warning, a black box warning. This means that it has been linked to serious adverse effects. According to the FDA, here are some of the most dangerous prescriptions:

  • Actos®, Avandia®: These drugs claim to help type 2 diabetes patients control blood sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance, but they have been linked to heart attack and stroke.
  • Cipro® (black box), Zithromax®, Factive® (black box), Keflex® (amoxicillin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, tetracycline): Although there are more than 100 types of antibiotics, these are the more popular prescribed forms. However, they have been linked to muscle and joint pain.
  • Coumadin® (warfarin): This blood thinner is intended to increase circulation and break down blood clots, but can actually cause blood clots and interact dangerously with other medications.
  • Detrol®, Ditropan®: These drugs are intended to reduce urinary incontinence and overactive bladder; but they have been linked to chest pain, weight gain, hallucinations, painful urination, dizziness, migraines and joint pain.
  • Fosamax®, Actonel®: These osteoporosis drugs claim to maintain bone health, but the latest reports indicate patients — mainly women — double the risk of developing heart conditions.
  • Lipitor®, Zocor®, Pravachol®, Zetia®, Vytorin®, Crestor®: These cholesterol drugs, or “statins,” are intended to help lower your cholesterol levels, but have been linked to muscle damage, liver damage, memory loss, digestive distress and risk of blood sugar problems.
  • Norvasc®: This drug claims to help control high blood pressure and chest pain and unclog your arteries. But it has been linked to low blood pressure, extreme dizziness and decreased libido.
  • Proscar®, Flomax®: These drugs are intended to treat enlarged prostate, but have been linked to the exact prostate problems they are supposed to treat. They can also lead to liver damage and decreased libido.
  • Prilosec®, Nexium®: These proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) claim to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, risks include abdominal pain, diarrhea, migraines, bone loss and vitamin deficiency.
  • Toprol XL® (black box), Zebeta®: These are the brand names of a class of beta blockers, which claim to treat high blood pressure and increase blood circulation, but have been known to cause extremely irregular heartbeat, fainting or dizzy spells, increased depression and a numbing feeling in the hands and feet.
  • Zoloft®, Paxil®, Prozac®, Wellbutrin® Lexapro®: These are antipsychotics, or antidepressants, intended to treat depression. However, they have been associated with increased risk of migraine, abdominal pain, muscle pain, nausea, insomnia, diarrhea and sexual dysfunction.


Peyton Kennedy

By Peyton Kennedy

Peyton Kennedy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from Auburn University. Her varied experience includes journalism, marketing, public relations and social media. She currently lives in Birmingham, Ala., with her husband Tom and dog Mosby. In her spare time, Kennedy enjoys movies, reading and Auburn football.