Sunday, April 24, 2011

Medication Side Effects, Part 3

This is a continuation from part 2 of the Medication Side Effects series. Please read part 1 and part 2 before reading this part so this particular blog entry will make sense.

In the part 1, we showed what the top 15 medication prescriptions were and how they ranked. Yesterday, we discussed Hydrocodone, Simvastatin, Lisinopril and Levothyroxine. Today, we will start showing each individual one with some of the side effects listed from . The list for today includes Azithromycin, Metaformin, Lipitor, Amlodipine, and Amoxicillin. This is not a complete source of information and should not be construed to be an official source. Tomorrow, we will discuss the remaining medications from the original list.

5) Azithromycin (antibiotic) - 53.8 million prescriptions
Popular because of its convenient dosing and few side effects. Brand name Zithromax.

- - Side Effects
Diarrhea; headache; loose stools; nausea; stomach pain; upset stomach; vomiting. Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); bloody stools; changes in hearing or hearing loss; chest pain; eye or vision problems; irregular heartbeat; muscle weakness; pounding in the chest; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; ringing in the ears; seizure; severe diarrhea; stomach cramps/pain; trouble speaking or swallowing; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

- - Comments
I shudder at the thought of how we turn to antibiotics so quickly when we are feeling a little under the weather. So often they are over prescribed and with the emergence of superbugs out there, if no antibiotic works, what will we do then? If we took better care of ourselves and did not work ourselves to death, things might be different. We spend very little time relaxing and resting or eating the foods we should eat. Then, our body's immune system cannot keep up with us and on top of that we've got deadlines to get done, emails to read, soccer practice to get the kids to among many other things. So instead of taking a sick day or being allowed to take a sick day, we run to the doctor and beg for some meds to get us going again. We know that the world will not continue to function without us. Of course, we spend very little time truly taking care of ourselves through what we eat and most of the food we consume is processed, frozen, or fried giving it very little nutritional value. If we learned to take better care of ourselves and rested and relaxed as well as exercised, maybe we could cut back on the antibiotics we consume.

6) Metformin (diabetes) - 52 million prescriptions
Brand name is Glucophage. Regarded as one of the best drugs for lowering blood sugar levels.

- - Side Effects
Cold-like symptoms; diarrhea; headache; indigestion; mild weight gain; nausea; stomach upset.Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or other vision changes; bone pain; chest pain or discomfort; dark urine; difficult or painful urination; dizziness or lightheadedness; fainting; fast or difficult breathing; feeling of being unusually cold; general feeling of being unwell; muscle pain or weakness; pale stools; persistent loss of appetite; severe or persistent headache, nausea, or vomiting; shortness of breath; slow or irregular heartbeat; sudden unexplained weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; unusual stomach pain or discomfort; unusual drowsiness; unusual tiredness or weakness; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

While there are people who are born with diabetes, type II (type 2, adult onset diabetes) is rising at alarming rates. In a nutshell, this means we have overloaded our bodies with so much sugar that they no longer function in the way they are intended to function. Yes, I realize it is much more complicated than what I have stated. If you look at the amount of sugar we consume these days, it is no wonder. Between the soft drinks, flavored juices, junk food and so many products where sugar is added, we are killing ourselves through a slow death. Just look at how choclate sales have increased over the past several years and that is an indication of how much more sugar we are consuming. There are energy drinks loaded with sugar and coffee drinks now that are consumed as if there was no tomorrow. Some sugar is nice but we've gotten to a point where we are so addicted to it in our society that we are poisoning ourselves.

7) Lipitor (high cholesterol) - 51.5 million prescriptions
Pfizer’s sales of Lipitor were $11.4 billion in 2008, down from $12.7 billion in 2007.

- - Side Effects
Please see for the side effects of this drug.

- - Comments
Refer to #2 regarding high cholesterol

8) Amlodipine (high blood pressure) - 50.9 million prescriptions
The calcium channel blocker to treat high blood pressure is better known as Norvasc from Pfizer.

- - Side Effects
Please see for the side effects of this drug.

- - Comments
Refer to #3 regarding high blood pressure

9) Amoxicillin (antibiotic) - 49.2 million prescriptions
Amoxicillin is a mainstay antibiotic used by pediatricians and others. Millions of kids get it for ear infections, even though most ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria.

- - Side Effects
Please see for the side effects of this drug.

- - Comments
Refer to #5 regarding high cholesterol

Please come back tomorrow for part 4 in this series about medication side effects.
Part 1 (Posted 4/22/11)
Part 2 (Posted 4/23/11)
Part 3 (Posted 4/24/11)
Part 4 (Posted 4/25/11)
Part 5 (Posted 4/26/11)

Further Information:
2) - The Most Popular Prescription Drugs
3) High Pulse Rate and Heart Disease
4) - US Health Care Costs

This blog post series is not meant as medical advice nor is it meant for you to stop taking medications prescribed by your doctor. You should always make those decisions with a qualified medical doctor. I am merely pointing out information my own study of a different way to view the body. Remember, the more you understand about how your body works, the more impact you can have upon your life. Just to make this crystal clear, consult your medical professional before making any changes with your medications and health. This is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

Blog Post & Images (c) 4/7/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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