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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).
In this article, we review results of a new study that sheds further light on the association between the use of specific antidepressants during early pregnancy and the small risk of birth defects.
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.
Patients taking the commonly used blood thinner warfarin (COUMADIN, JANTOVEN) should be aware that it has clinically important interactions with numerous other prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as some dietary supplements.
There are more than 1,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as certain herbal and dietary supplements, that are implicated in liver injury, and the list continues to grow.
Patients taking the commonly prescribed antibiotic clarithromycin (BIAXIN XL) should be aware that it has clinically important interactions with many other prescription medications.
Learn why women should avoid using BRISDELLE, the first and only nonhormonal drug approved by the FDA for treatment of hot flashes associated with menopause.
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.
Patients taking the commonly prescribed epilepsy drug phenytoin (DILANTIN, PHENYTEK), one of the oldest epilepsy drugs, should be aware that it has clinically impor¬tant interactions with many other prescription and over-the-counter medications. Some of these interactions can lead to phenytoin toxicity, and others can lead to ineffective seizure control.
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.
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.
Read about the many prescription and over-the-counter medications that can interact in dangerous ways with clopidogrel, a widely used anti-platelet drug.
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.
Read about the more than two dozen medications that can have clinically important interactions with aripiprazole, one of the widely used newer atypical antipsychotic drugs that is approved by the FDA for treatment of several disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
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.
Learn about new drugs approved by the FDA in 2013 that Worst Pills Best Pills has identified as dangerous or ineffective. The drugs include two for diabetes, two for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and an over-the-counter drug for overactive bladder, among others.
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.
A newly marketed drug for treating hot flashes of menopause, BRISDELLE, is a lower dose of the familiar antidepressant PAXIL. This article discusses its risks and barely-evident effectiveness.
This month will see the launch of yet another highly promoted drug to treat the hot flashes of menopause. Like almost all of its predecessors, it has clear risks and also lacks strong evidence of usefulness.
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.
Find out how a seemingly large $3 billion criminal and civil penalty levied against GlaxoSmithKline — because of its small size relative to the drugmaker’s profits and the absence of jail time for any of the company’s officials — tacitly encourages drug companies to continue illegal activities.
This article updates and expands our earlier list of drugs that can have harmful interactions with grapefruit juice. The list now includes 82 different drugs.
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.
The article discusses why taking certain antidepressants after a heart attack may increase the risk of bleeding. Find out which ones are the culprits.
The article reviews evidence that taking any of eight different classes of prescription drugs can significantly increase the risks of being involved in a traffic accident in which someone is injured. Find out what the classes of drugs are.
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 lists 27 drugs that can cause akathisia, a condition characterized by muscular quivering and the inability to sit still. Other signs of the condition include fidgety movements, leg swinging while sitting, rocking from foot to foot or pacing and motor restlessness.
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.
Find out why you should not use cough products such as ROBITUSSIN DM that contain dextromethorphan. Also view a list of 22 other drugs that can have harmful interactions with dextromethorphan.
This article discusses the greatly increased risk of bleeding with some widely-used antidepressant drugs and provides information that the FDA has not yet required be included in the patient Medication Guides for these drugs.
Taking alpha-blockers in combination with drugs for erectile dysfunction and with other drugs can cause dizziness and fainting.
In this article we will discuss alfuzosin (UROXATRAL), doxazosin (CARDURA), tamsulosin (FLOMAX) and terazosin (HYTRIN) and drugs with which they can have harmful interactions.
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.
A recent study has found large numbers of reports of psychiatric adverse effects with varenicline (CHANTIX) including hundres of reports of suicidal acts, thoughts or behaviors; possible psychosis; and hostility or aggression.
This article, based on a recent review in Drug Safety, lists 62 prescription drugs that can cause eye disease. The range of drug-induced eye diseases includes diseases of the eyelids, glaucoma, cataracts, retinal damage and optic nerve damage. As is true for drug-induced diseases in other parts of the body, you should consider newly developed eye symptoms beginning shortly after starting a new medication to be possibly drug-induced and consult a physician.
The article lists more than 30 prescription drugs that can cause the serotonin syndrome.
More than 70 million prescriptions a year are filled for these popular antidepressants, including Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa and Lexapro. This article gives details about more than 60 other widely prescribed prescription drugs that can have harmful interactions if used with these antidepressants. The two different kinds of interactions are also discussed.
Because of evidence from a number of studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently required a “black box” label for all SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants indicating that use in children could lead to an increased risk of suicidal behavior. Now comes a study published in the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry (Volume 164, pp. 1356-1363) purporting to show, in effect, the opposite: the FDA warnings had caused the rate of pediatric SSRI prescriptions to plummet and as a result young people are killing themselves due to lack of treatment. If this were true, it would be a clear example of the unintended consequences of regulation.
The paper and its subsequent publicity appear to be little more than a public relations ploy. The editors of the AJP should not have allowed such gross misrepresentations to pass into print unscathed, and journalists who cited this study as if it deserved equal credence to the RCTs are just as guilty.
Patients over the age of 65 taking or considering taking venlafaxine (EFFEXOR) should ask their provider to check for low blood sodium levels within three to five days after treatment is started.
Patients taking venlafaxine who are experiencing the symptoms of low blood sodium levels listed in the article should contact the prescriber as soon as possible.
Patients should not discontinue taking venlafaxine without first consulting with their prescribing health care provider. Other antidepressants in the SSRI family such as PROZAC and PAXIL have also been found to cause low sodium levels.
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.
Women who are pregnant and taking certain antidepressants take note: a recent study finds that you are more likely to have a recurrence of depression if you stop treatment during pregnancy, but another recent study suggests that taking certain antidepressants may harm your baby. Find out about this dilemma.
If you are taking triptans, SSRIs or SNRIs and experience the symptoms of serotonin syndrome listed in this article, you should seek medical attention immediately. This is because of the possibility of life-threatening reactions such as nausea, changes in blood pressure or hallucinations that may be caused by the interaction of migraine headache drugs, called triptans, and certain antidepressants.
The article discusses numerous recent examples of the harm that has been caused by off-label prescribing, including the heart drugs amiodarone (Cordarone), many antipsychotic drugs, topiramate (Topamax)and several antidepressants.
You should consult with your doctor immediately if you are taking paroxetine and are pregnant and particularly if you are in your first trimester. Suddenly stopping paroxetine and drugs like it may result in a withdrawal syndrome. See the warning statement above.
A new study shows how direct-to-consumer advertising can increase the use of antidepressants for minor conditions.
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.
The Canadian equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, issued a public advisory on August 9, 2004 warning that newborns may be adversely affected when their mothers take one of the family of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other newer anti-depressants during the third trimester of pregnancy.
At the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), eight out of ten manufacturers of newer antidepressants have agreed to add a warning about the possibility of an increased risk of suicide associated with the use of these drugs. The warning will appear in the professional product labeling, or package insert, for these drugs.(listed in the article)
Fourteen years ago, in May 1991, the Health Research Group petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a warning in the professional product labeling, or package insert, of fluoxetine (PROZAC) concerning the risk of suicidal impulses in patients using the drug. Fluoxetine belongs to the family of antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Read the warning we asked for back then.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Advisory on October 27, 2003 about reports of suicidal thinking and suicide attempts in clinical trials of eight drugs in pediatric patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
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.
Grapefruit juice can interact with a number of therapeutically important drugs that could lead to the possibility of toxicity. These drugs are listed in the article.