The Worst Prescription Drug Side Effects

Everything has a side effect, from coffee to Tylenol to eating too much pizza (that’s called “getting rad”). Most prescription drug side effects are usually not that big a deal. Who cares about having dry mouth when you don’t have blood clots, right? Unfortunately, some side effects are worse - or weirder - than others.

While most people start taking a medication with the understanding that it will make them healthy, they rarely realize their brain, gait, and even skin color may change irreversibly. Once you get about halfway through this collection of strange side effects, you’ll start to notice that a lot of medications can really mess you up, unless you’re into having lucid nightmares or disappearing fingerprints. 

It’s unrealistic to think there are medications without side effects, but it’s also hard to believe that anyone would willingly subject their body to something knowing that there’s a small chance it could make them kill their family. This isn't meant to be alarmist, but as Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” If you're genuinely worried, talk to your doctor.

  • Olanzapine

    If you're someone who loves the way you walk, then you should find another way to treat your schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Not only does Olanzapine come with the possibility of giving you an "abnormal gait," but it also comes with "cogwheel rigidity" and a "mask-like face."

  • Mirapex

    For those of you with someone in your life who's dealing with Parkinson's disease or restless leg syndrome, you may be familiar with Mirapex. Hopefully, they aren't also fighting off unusual urges to gamble

  • Ortho-Novum

    Ortho-Novum is one of the most popular birth control pills on the market. And while it is a contraceptive, some women use it to treat severe acne. Great! What's not so great is that it can cause benign but dangerous liver tumors that can rupture and cause internal bleeding

  • Advair

    If you or someone you know has very intense asthma, then you've probably seen one of Advair's purple inhalers. In a sick twist, one of the possible side effects listed on Advair's website is asthma-related death. You just can't win when you've got lung problems. 

  • Chantix

    Chantix is one of the most popular medications used to stop smoking. It has a lot of side effects, but the eeriest one is that it can turn your dreams into Cronenbergian nightmares, according to this New York magazine writer:

    Every time I’d drift off, I’d dream that an invisible, malevolent entity was emanating from my air conditioner, which seemed to be rattling even more than usual. I’d nap for twenty minutes or so before bolting awake with an involuntary gasp. I had the uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone.

  • Accutane

    For people trying to treat severe acne, Accutane is one of the many lifelines that can clear up your skin. But with that kind of self-confidence comes this unsettling and vague side effect: "changes in your fingernails." There's also the possibility of hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.