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Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a life-threatening neurological disorder most often caused by neuroleptic (antipsychotic) medications, which are used to treat schizophrenia and certain other psychiatric disorders, among other things. The syndrome also can be caused by certain other drugs used to treat nausea and depression, as well as by the sudden discontinuation of a dopamine agonist (drugs that are used most commonly to treat Parkinson’s disease).
Although impaired driving usu¬ally is caused by alcohol or marijuana, many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications also can impair one’s ability to drive safely. Learn about several classes of medications that can cause this serious problem to protect yourself, your passengers and others who share the road with you.
Next to Parkinson’s disease, drug-induced parkinsonism is the second most common cause of parkinsonism, accounting for about 8-12% of all parkinsonism cases. Find out which commonly used drugs can cause this condition.
Most U.S. adults drink alcohol at least occasionally. Many also take prescription or over-the-counter drugs that have the potential to inter¬act adversely with alcohol. Avoid serious harm by knowing which drugs should not be taken in combination with alcohol.
For men, abnormally large breasts can be distressing and embarrassing. Find out about the numerous drugs that can cause breast enlargement in men.
Drugs are the most frequent cause of taste disturbances. In this article, we identify more than 60 commonly used prescription medications that have been linked to problems with taste.
Restless legs syndrome is a common neurological movement and sensory disorder that affects 5 to 10 percent of the population. In this article, we identify some of the many drugs that can cause or worsen this disorder.
Read about the many prescription medications that can interact in dangerous ways with lithium, the drug of choice for treating bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.
In this article, we summarize the results of a recent research study showing that use of medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect is very common. We also identify some of the many prescription medications that can cause depression symptoms, including suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Tremor is the single most common movement disorder, affecting millions of people in the U.S. If you have tremors, could one of your drugs be the cause? Read this article to learn the answer.
This article lists practical steps to take to avoid death, hospitalization or other medical problems caused by heat stress. It also identifies over 100 drugs that can impair your response to heat and thereby increase your risk of heat-induced illness and death.
Abnormal involuntary movements (movement disorders) occur as adverse events associated with many widely used medications and can cause substantial hardship for affected individuals. Find out which drugs are associated with these adverse effects.
Weight gain is an adverse event associated with many widely used medications and may lead to significant overweight and obesity, especially in susceptible individuals. Find out which drugs have this adverse effect.
For most people with hair loss, the condition usually is age-related or due to the genes they inherited from their parents. But for some patients, the cause of the problem can be found in the medicine cabinet. Learn about some commonly used medications that can cause hair loss.
Learn about recent evidence suggesting that anticholinergic drugs — which include many antidepressants, antihistamines and overactive bladder control medications — may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia in the elderly.
Recent research revealed that many patients consume alcohol while using drugs that may can cause dangerous side effects when combined with alcohol. Read this article to learn about the many ways alcohol can adversely interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Some degrees of depression are less likely to respond to treatment with an antidepressant. This article reviews the evidence and evaluates 27 different antidepressants, labeling many as Do Not Use or Limited Use.
Approximately 20 percent of prescriptions for elderly patients in primary care settings are inappropriate, leading to adverse reactions that are entirely preventable. The article lists some of the most common inappropriately prescribed drugs.
We review a recent study concerning the lack of evidence that antidepressants are effective in elderly, demented people. Find out the risks involved with antidepressant use in this population and learn about the safer, more effective nondrug approaches to treating depression in elderly adults.
This article lists practical steps to take to avoid death, hospitalization or other medical problems caused by heat stress. It also contains a list of 123 drugs that can impair your response to heat.
Find out the difference between major depression and minor depression and why antidepressants, which are effective with precautions for the former, are not effective for the latter.
The article describes the symptoms of the life-threatening neurological disorder neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) and lists 40 different prescription drugs that have been found to cause it.
A study discovered that more than 1 out of every 10 people who went to a Parkinson’s disease center was found to have drug-induced Parkinsonism. These people were misdiagnosed as having the more common illness, Parkinson’s disease, which is irreversible and has unknown causes.
Tizanidine (ZANAFLEX) is a muscle relaxant for which more than 3.8 million prescriptions were filled in the U.S. last year. The article lists more than 64 drugs with which it can have dangerous interactions resulting in excess sedation, difficulty breathing or dangerously low blood pressure that can result in falling.
Because of new information about increased risks of suicidal thoughts associated with the use of a variety of antidepressants, people of all ages should be monitored closely with all antidepressants after the drugs are first prescribed, switched or when the dosage is changed.
Do not stop using any antidepressants without first consulting the prescriber.
21 percent of the prescriptions written in 2001 in the United States were for drugs that were not deemed to be safe and effective to treat the diseases or symptoms for which they were prescribed. If you have been prescribed a drug for an off-label (unapproved) use, ask your physician about the science supporting the use of the drug and ask if a drug that is approved for that use could be substituted.
Belatedly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on October 15, 2004 that it is taking steps to inform parents and physicians about the risks of antidepressants when these drugs are used to treat major depressive disorder in children and adolescents.
This is the first of a two part series on drug induced psychiatric symptoms that is based on the July 8, 2002 issue of The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Regular readers of Worst Pills, Best Pills News will recognize The Medical Letter as a reference source written for physicians and pharmacists that we often use because of its reputation as an objective and independent source of drug information. The article lists the drugs and their psychiatric adverse effects.