Updated 20 October 2014

10 weird side effects of medication

You think you're doing the right thing by taking this medication - and the next thing you have bleeding gums, pimples or memory loss.

Many medicines cause drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, diarrhoea, moodiness, headaches or nausea.

Side effects can vary widely from person to person, depending on their medical history, state of health and other medications they are taking.

All side effects experienced by those taking part in clinical trials need to be recorded on the package inserts in medication. That includes over-the-counter medication.

So if one person experiences hair loss, or bleeding gums, it needs to be included. But the risks need to be deemed acceptable.

For instance, if even one person in a hundred gets cardiac problems from a drug, it will never reach the shelves.

The list below is by no means comprehensive. But it does contain some really unexpected (and sometimes embarrassing) side effects.

Weird side effects of medication

- Occasional side effects of antibiotics include tendonitis and hearing loss, among others.

- Some weight loss drugs such as 'fat trappers' or 'blockers', designed to prevent the body from absorbing fat, can cause very embarrassing bowel control problems.

- Chemotherapy can cause chapped lips, memory problems, infertility, among other things.

- Some drugs prescribed to regulate dopamine levels can cause compulsive behaviour patterns to intensify. These include gambling, drinking, agression, shopping and overeating, desire and dread, to name but a few.

- Statins, used to control cholesterol levels, can cause cateracts. They can also bring on short-term memory loss, but fortunately this is usually temporary. On the upside, they reduce gum inflammation

- Some antihistamines (used to treat allergies) are known to cause back pain.

- Drugs containing enalipril, used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure can affect all five your senses. You can lose your sense of smell, taste, experience a ringing in the ears and blurred vision.

- Some antibiotics can cause your urine to go black. Purple urine can be caused by some laxatives, and blue urine by some diuretics.

- Some anti-malarial drugs can cause frightening visual and auditory hallucinations.

- Drug used to treat chronic insomnia that include the active ingredient zolpidem, could cause night terrors and sleepwalking episodes.

Read more:

Why you should tweet the side effects of meds 
How the inactive ingredients in meds can cause side effects 
How antidepressants affect your libido

Sources: health24,,,


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