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Unadvertised prescription side effects

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I started taking a nasal allergy spray 2 days ago. It's a mild steriod. I've taken other mild steriod nasal sprays before, but not this one. Today I woke up and can hardly remain upright, let alone drive, from being so dizzy. My eyes are also bloodshot because it not only dried up the sinuses, I have no tears. My mouth is also extremely dry (which I can deal with, it's just annoying).

I went online and did a quick search, and found that my side effects were normal, but still very mild compared to what others had experienced. Granted, this was from a self-reporting website, so it's anecdotal, but the instances of heart palpitations, accelerated heartrate, increased aggression and irritability, as well as the side effects I experienced makes me believe there is more to it than just a few nutcases who weren't happy with the med. None of these were listed with the official information (I checked there first).

How can we, as consumers, trust the drugs we're given when the information they include isn't complete? I wouldn't have even filled the 'scrip if I had known the side effects. So I'm not only miserable, I'm out hard cash for this med that is going in the trash.
post #2 of 29
This far more common that you think. IMO, you should report your findings to your doctor, to the drug company and the FDA. They need to know about this reaction.

The rest is up to you. If you are prescribed a drug you can do a Google search on it (depending on if you trust the results), and have a long talk with your doctor about how your body reacts to things.
post #3 of 29
Sounds like the side effects are worse than the original symptoms!

It seems to be happening more and more as new drugs are approved and doctors have less time to spend with their patients.

My DH's doctor perscribed pain meds for him. It turned out to also be an antidepressant. He decided against taking them when the first thing that caught our eyes was a suicide warning.
post #4 of 29
might be worth writing to the drug company about... you might get a refund!
post #5 of 29
They don't like including information about the worse side effects and often the doctors themselves don't even know - they just know what the drug rep told them while trying to make a sale.

Your pharmacist is usually the one to ask and often the one to catch potential interactions. I wonder how many pharmacists have saved people's lives this way?

Whenever I'm given a prescription or know I may be put on a certain drug I make sure to thoroughly look up all the side effects. Better to know what to expect and be on the look out for it. As for antidepressants and the suicide warning, all of the manufacturers for them have big lawsuits out due to bad side effects - the big one being withdrawal syndrome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
My DH's doctor perscribed pain meds for him. It turned out to also be an antidepressant. He decided against taking them when the first thing that caught our eyes was a suicide warning.
Personally I don't believe doctors should be allowed to prescribe antidepressants at all. This is not their area of expertise. If they wish to have their patient put on them then they should consult a psychiatrist - someone who would be more familiar with how these medicines work and what side effects they can have.

Earlier I was reading a thread on another forum I'm a member of... there were some really frightening stories from some of the members that had reactions to CT scan contrast dye . One person had acute kidney failure from it and had to spend a week on dialysis. Ironically she and others told the techs that they were getting sick from it but were ignored.
So it's completely possible that your doctor may not even believe you if you tell him about the side effects and may just say you're getting sick or it's allergies....
No one believes me about my reaction to local anesthetics and epi, yet there are many people that have bad reactions.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Whenever I'm given a prescription or know I may be put on a certain drug I make sure to thoroughly look up all the side effects. Better to know what to expect and be on the look out for it. As for antidepressants and the suicide warning, all of the manufacturers for them have big lawsuits out due to bad side effects - the big one being withdrawal syndrome. Personally I don't believe doctors should be allowed to prescribe antidepressants at all.
Especially when they don't even tell the patient what it is!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
Especially when they don't even tell the patient what it is!
I haven't had a doctor yet explain what they were prescribing!
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I haven't had a doctor yet explain what they were prescribing!
Honestly I really think that it was ignorance on the Dr.'s part. She actually did explain what she was prescribing, what the "known" (published) side effects are, and how to administer the meds. And she's not even my regular doctor! I know my regular Dr. will take what I have to say into account. We go to a really great practice with only 3 doctors, and they really do still take the time to actually talk to you and listen to you. Yeah, it usually means they are running late on their appt. times, but that's a price I'm willing to pay.
post #9 of 29
I regularly experience bad side effects from medications and have found out that doctors usually don't know these things when they prescribe them. I use a good pharmacist and talk thru the side effects with them. Even if they are busy, I'll wait until they free up. A pharmacist saved my mother one time when her doctor prescribed her a medication that was in conflict with another drug she was taking. My mom asked the pharmacist why her doctor would do that and the pharmacist simply explained that doctors only know what the drug marketers tell them.

I had a great prescription drug book many years ago that listed all the potential side effects of hundreds of drugs. But there are so many new drugs out there now its not easy to keep up with all of them. I haven't found a current copy of that book.
post #10 of 29
During phase 3 drug trials, when the drug is used by a larger population of people, any possible side effect is to be reported and will become a possible side effect for this drug. For instance, if I had a sinus headache during the trial of this drug, it would be listed even though I've had sinus headaches for 30 years. You ought to see the paperwork involved in phase three trials - reams of it and we are just one site.
Be very careful about which websites you choose to access for medical info - anyone can put out there anything they want and say they are anyone, without being able to verify it.

Are you absolutely positive that these symptoms aren't from the flu or the allergies you are taking it from in the first place? Sorry, I have to ask as there is still so much stuff making rounds rigt now. Even the flu. I use the Netti pot because none of the nose sprays work on me, except the saline ones for extra moisture.

Antidepressants have their place, but I agree they aren't always used correctly. In my job, I've had to take several classes on depression and suicide in minors - a good portion of which also applies to adults. There is a point in depression where the patient can be so depressed that they aren't able to make any decisions or performs any actions. As the depression improves, they get to a point where they are still very depressed but they are able to act - that's when they are at risk for committing suicide. This is true for all severely depressed patients.
post #11 of 29
I had severe heart palpitations from a steroidal nasal inhaler that was NOT supposed to have systemic side effects. I am sensitive to steroids, my doctor knew this, however since this med was not supposed to have systemic effects it should not have affected me.

Wrong, It was really expensive too. I threw it in the trash.

There are two really good websites for checking medications. One is

www.rxlist.com On this one you can usually actually access the monographs of the actual research done and what the pharmakinetics are. Also if you have a pill that you don't know what it is you can identify it by the markings on it.

The other one is a drug interaction checker
http://www.medscape.com/druginfo/dru...ker?src=google


This is great. It lists several of my medications that I should not drink grapefruit juice with. Not something I would otherwise been aware of.


I echo everyone else who knows the value of a good pharmacist. Mine has saved me from severe reactions several times.
post #12 of 29
If a side effect does not appear in clinical trials, the company would have no cause to report it. They cannot take anecdotal evidence without an investigation.

Often it's a case of doing clinical trials in too small a population (number wise) or too restricted a population (variety wise. Most drugs are tested on men, for instance.)
post #13 of 29
B was prescribed pain relief for his back which is nerve damage, rather than muscle.

It offered GREAT relief to his back, however after 6-8 months, he began to see the floor moving, things changing color, and have a wide variety of personality: sweet one day, scary/mean the next...he would never remember the scary/mean part either. Just would completely blank out.

He stopped taking the drug a year ago when the floor movement and changing colors got really bad. Then a week later he saw an commercial for a law firm who said if you know of someone who committed suicide while taking this drug (same drug he was taking) to call their office

I agree with Heather though. even though you find several others that have experienced the same or worse conditions that you have, compare that number to the number of people taking the drug. Perhaps the number is so insignificant that it wasn't reported in the original lab tests performed by or for the FDA. Definitely report your findings. Medicine is not an exact science and the medical experts are finding new things everyday!
post #14 of 29
If you read the list of side effects of ANY drug, you'll find a few common things on them. It's the rare drug that doesn't have "flu-like symptoms," headache, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

I noticed that when we've gotten prescriptions lately, there is a large printed sheet with it (not just the little enclosure that looks like it was printed for mice to read) that lists the fairly serious side effects.

I think all the statins say not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice.
post #15 of 29
this is why I have 6 drug books ( 3 are PDRS of different yrs)... and read the micro print atttached to most bottles... OHH and I dont take ANY RXS...Do report it to your dr and the FDA
post #16 of 29
Caveat emptor....."Let the buyer beware". As a nurse, I rthoroughly esearch every drug that is prescribed for my family or myself!
post #17 of 29
With my asthma I'm kinda forced into taking something; and most asthma drugs have crappy side effects. But they're better than not being able to breathe. Like the one that makes you likely to get thrush. Ick, is all I can say, but you can't stop taking it.

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your side effects, I hope they clear up fast.

I'm always reminded that those little pills, aerosols, and sprays are actually pretty serious chemicals that don't really belong in our bodies

And then, of course, there's all the prescription waste in our drinking water.
post #18 of 29
zissou'smom...

have you tried taking acidophilous to combat the thrush? it helps restore the good bacteria in the body (like what yogurt boasts of doing). you can get it in any health food store.

/end OT
post #19 of 29
I have RA, and was given steroids for it. I gained 30 lbs in about 20 minutes and turned into a blathering idiot. I could not remember what was real, what I had dreamed, spent about half my time crying or raging. I threw it away. I found out later that it was steroid psychosis, and was not told anything about that possiblity of that happening. I am still recovering from it, and this was months ago. It can take a year for it to get out of your system. I don't know what will happen later when things get really bad. I know it won't be steroids.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by krazy kat2 View Post
I don't know what will happen later when things get really bad. I know it won't be steroids.
Has your doctor discussed biologics with you yet? There are a lot of risks and they do surpress your immune system, but for the people they work for it stops or nearly stops the progression of RA. Biggest downside is the price...


Depending how my health goes, if the tachycardia continues, and if/when I can afford to travel to a special clinic for proper treatment... I may have beta-blockers and fludrocortisone in my future. Definitely unnerving side effect lists.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillian View Post
zissou'smom...

have you tried taking acidophilous to combat the thrush? it helps restore the good bacteria in the body (like what yogurt boasts of doing). you can get it in any health food store.

/end OT
Yea, I went and bought some plain yogurt. It was a huge stressful deal, because I went to a minute clinic (long story short- my doctor sucks, and I hadn't found a new one yet) who told me exactly what I had but that she couldn't give me a prescription because it wasn't in their computer system (yay for american health care!).

Basically, it went away on it's own while being only a minor annoyance within a couple days. I've done a better job rinsing my mouth out with water (was using mouthwash, which my doctor told me to, but then it became obvious that this was one of the main problems and that it was killing off the good bacteria...)

Anyway, nobody wants to be on steroids, but my other asthma meds weren't cutting it and, well, you do need to breathe. It's a real low dosage, just inhaled, so it doesn't cause the nasty bloated/weight gain stuff.


I just wish everyone's bodies would work the way they're supposed to.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
With my asthma I'm kinda forced into taking something; and most asthma drugs have crappy side effects. But they're better than not being able to breathe. Like the one that makes you likely to get thrush. Ick, is all I can say, but you can't stop taking it.
Even though this is a highlighted side effect, a commercial I saw recently for asthma included the side effect of asthma-related death. I nearly fell over. I haven't seen the commercial/drug since.
post #23 of 29
Given the concerns of this thread, this news article about drug safety and the FDA deadlines makes me wonder if they are giving enough time to determine the side-effects.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
I looked at the drug card again and saw that the basis of their side effects was a study of 3,000 people. Considering this is a well known inhalant for allergies (not asthma, just allergies...think flowers and bees), and is said to be safe for children, I don't know that a small study like that is sufficient. Also, not listed on the side effects is anything about change in personality and aggressiveness (which I definitely got - ask Earl! ), but when I talked to the pharmacist tonight he said that aggressiveness is a fairly common side effect of this and other steroidal inhalants! No one said anything about that, but when the pharmacist says that, I think it's a little more than anecdotal evidence. Oh yeah, and I asked if there was anywhere to report it, he said no, just talk to your doctor about it.
post #25 of 29
I think another factor that plays into effect is the number of people that require a pill to "fix" them. I do understand that there are people that need their medications in order to function everyday, however I also know that there are several hypocondriacs that are probably taking pills that don't need to be.

Heck I had a friend in college that was taking about 9-10 pills a day and many of them were to correct what the other pill was doing. I.e. she got severe PMS as a teen so she was put onto birth control. Birth control contributed to her migraines, the migraine med increased her blood pressure, the blood pressure med raised her cholestrial (btw these are just examples...it's been 10 years since I Last heard from her).

Finally what took the cake was when she had bronchitis, the doctor gave her an inhaler to treat the illness...after they took her off the inhaler she developed a wheeze and they diagnosed her with asthma



With the increase in the number of people that take the drugs probably means that they need to increase the number in their control sample. Plus not everyone is going to have the same side effects all the time. Everyone's chemical balance is slightly different, thus effecting our body's reaction to outside chemicals injested.

(PS I'm not saying that I don't agree with the article...I have a sneaky feeling some money gets passed under the table and viola! a new drug is approved.)
post #26 of 29
I tried a couple different prescription nasal sprays 3-4 years ago. The first one caused nosebleeds. So my doctor gave me another one to try. That cause severe nasal pain. Like I sprayed it, and it felt like burning hot lava going up my nose. After trying several she suggested saline sprays and a neti pot. So I use those and Claritin if it's particularly bad (though since we moved back to WI I've only taken Claritin a couple times). The side effects of the nasal sprays just aren't worth it. And most allergy meds make me drowsy.

I have some sort of combination of sinus problems and allergies. Cigarette smoke and perfumes can set me off. But so can some regular allergens. On really bad days it causes migraines. I've noticed it's worse on days when the people at school take a bath in cologne/perfume.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Earlier I was reading a thread on another forum I'm a member of... there were some really frightening stories from some of the members that had reactions to CT scan contrast dye . One person had acute kidney failure from it and had to spend a week on dialysis. Ironically she and others told the techs that they were getting sick from it but were ignored.
A little FYI here:
CT contrast is injected at a fast rate, usually the injection is completed within 40 seconds, so complaining about being sick is done after or during the injection. If during, the injection is stopped and if after patients are monitored and not sent home if feeling ill. Patients are not ignored, but with such a fast rate of injection the bulk of the injection has gone in before someone begins to have a problem.
Allergic reactions, like hives, and anaphylaxis, can happen to some people. Vomiting can also occur but isn't considered a reaction, it's more of a response.

Patients with low renal function can go into renal failure with this contrast. This is totally preventable. Your doctor should be ordering bun/creat lab work to determine your kidney function if you are over a certain age, have hypertension, diabetes or history of kidney problems. If your doctor isn't doing their job, hopefully the facility you go to will. At our facility we have had to purchase lab equipment to do this bloodwork because patient's physicians are not ordering these before they order a CT, even though we constantly call to ask for bun/creatines on their patients and have sent them literature on this.

Patients should be signing an informed consent for any CT test ordered with contrast that explains all the possible side effects and reactions. You have the right to refuse contrast or reschedule if you have questions that are not being answered. Check that any facility you have this test in has doctors/ACLS nurses/registered techs and a crash cart on site at the time of your exam. If not, find one that does.
post #28 of 29
^The people that were describing the bad side effects have none of those health problems. The only kidney problems some have is possible renin problems making it difficult for them to retain fluids (and salt). What they all have in common is a lot of strange sensitivities and reactions to things normal people would not have.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Even though this is a highlighted side effect, a commercial I saw recently for asthma included the side effect of asthma-related death. I nearly fell over. I haven't seen the commercial/drug since.
A few combination asthma meds increase the risk of asthma-related death, including the one I'm on.

As with all medications, it's a matter of cost-benefit analysis. The general rate of asthma-related death is .02%, on salmeterol, it's .1%. A pretty sizable increase, but to me, it is worth it. Asthma isn't just a minor annoyance when it's severe enough-- it pretty much affects your whole life in a big way if it's uncontrolled. There are things you can't do, things that are hard to do, and sometimes you just can't breathe.

If it were the sort of chronic condition that isn't quite so drastic, I'd probably not be willing to take anything with these side effects.
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