We tend to inherently think of prescription drugs as being safe when in reality, they can be anything but. Here are the most dangerous prescription drugs to stay away from.
If taken under the doctor’s supervision, prescription drugs can save lives. But they can also take lives if the patient avoids medical advice.
There are risks that can come from drug manufacturers. For example, there are often lawsuits because drugs are designed or manufactured defectively, or the manufacturer didn’t run full clinical tests.
When pharmaceuticals and marketed without meeting safety requirements, they don’t have proper warnings, or they’re simply dangerous, injured parties can file claims against manufacturers.
There are also risks that come with how prescriptions are given to patients by health care providers and how the patient uses them.
Whether or not a drug is legal has little to do with how dangerous it is. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), tobacco, alcohol, and opioid painkillers are responsible for more direct deaths each year than any other substances.
Of those, opioids are available by prescription, and the other two are legal.
5 Of The Most Dangerous Prescription Drugs
The following breaks down the deadliest and most dangerous prescription drugs in America:
Fentanyl is an opioid available by prescription, originally developed for the treatment of chronic or severe pain. It’s a Schedule II narcotic in the U.S. currently, meaning it has medical uses but also a high risk of addiction and dependence.
This pain medication is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.
In a medical facility, the use of fentanyl is carefully monitored because even tiny doses can be deadly.
Now, fentanyl has flooded the streets of America, and much of it is made in foreign labs.
Opioid overdoses have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths since the 1990s, in what’s now called the Opioid Epidemic.
In the late 1990s, drug companies assured the medical community and prescribing doctors that their patients wouldn’t get addicted to opioid pain medicines. Healthcare providers started to prescribe them at higher rates, leading to widespread misuse and harmful effects.
In 2017, HHS declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.
Along with fentanyl, other dangerous opioid pain medications include morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
Methadone relates to opioids and the epidemic, but it stands alone in terms of being a potentially dangerous prescription drug.
It is technically a prescription opioid, but it’s often prescribed to patients as they come off heroin or as a substitute for heroin to prevent withdrawal.
Methadone acts in many of the same ways as heroin and other opioids, but less strongly so.
While it’s safer than heroin, it is possible to overdose on methadone, especially when it’s combined with other substances.
It can also be particularly dangerous when someone has abstained from opioids for a period of time and then relapsed. The chances of overdosing are higher during a relapse because tolerance declines.
When someone takes benzodiazepines, they have a calming effect. They take effect pretty quickly and usually only last for a few hours.
Taking a benzodiazepine affects your brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers. By affecting your neurotransmitters and especially GABA, benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system.
The effects of benzodiazepines can be similar to how alcohol affects the brain.
These are meant as short-term medications. There is a risk of overdosing, particularly when they’re combined with other substances like alcohol or opioids. There is also a dependence potential.
If you’re dependent on a benzo and try to stop using it cold turkey, you’re likely going to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Commonly prescribed brand-name benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
Prescription stimulants are prescribed to children and adults with attention deficit disorder. Ritalin and Adderall are two of the more well-known prescription stimulants.
While they can be safe when used properly, in some cases, they can be dangerous or deadly.
The main risks of stimulants come from recreational use, meaning people who use them without a prescription or in a way other than what they’re prescribed for.
5. Anabolic Steroids
Finally, anabolic steroids are another prescription drug that is also used recreationally. These are synthetic versions of testosterone, a sex hormone.
These are used in a prescription sense to help with hormonal issues.
They can also treat diseases that cause muscle loss and wasting.
Using steroids may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, and there are side effects like aggression and violence.
There’s also some evidence that long-term anabolic steroid use is associated with higher rates of violent causes of death like suicide and homicide.
As you can see, just because the drug can be prescribed by the doctor, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to use it unsupervised.
From just feeling sick to addictions, chronic diseases, and even deaths, the above five dangerous prescription drugs are guilty of everything.
So make sure you NEVER take a prescription drug in a different way than what your doctor said.