Medications are prescribed abundantly throughout the United States every day. Just go into any pharmacy and you can see how busy they are as they fill prescriptions as fast as they can. Here's a list of the top ten prescribed drugs in the U.S. How many of these do are you taking?
1. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
Vicodin is a popular drug for treating acute or chronic moderate to moderately severe pain.
- Its most common side effects are lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, and vomiting.
- Vicodin can reduce breathing, impair thinking, reduce physical abilities, and is habit-forming.
2. Albuterol (Accuneb, Ventolin, Proair, Proventil)
Albuterol sulphate dilates the airways of the lung and is used for treating asthma and other conditions of the lung. Albuterol sulphate inhalation solution is used for the treatment of bronchospasm in patients 2 to 12 years of age with asthma (reversible obstructive airway disease).
- Common side effects include:
- migraine headaches
- non-migraine headaches
- stomach upset
- flu-like symptoms
- cold symptoms
- ear infections (otitis media)
3. Lisinopril (Generic for Prinivil or Zestril)
Lisinopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for treating high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and for preventing kidney failure caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Lisinopril side effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction.
- ACE inhibitors may cause a dry cough that resolves when the drug is discontinued.
4. Levothyroxine (generic for Synthroid)
Levothyroxine is a man-made version of thyroid hormone. It is used for treating hypothyroidism.
- Its side effects usually result from high levels of thyroid hormone.
- Excessive thyroid hormone can cause chest pain, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, nervousness, headache, and weight loss.
5. Gabapentin (Neurontin)
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure (anti-convulsant) drug that is used for preventing seizures and for treating post-herpetic neuralgia, the pain that follows an episode of shingles.
- The most common side effects of gabapentin are:
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Difficulty speaking
- Jerky movements
- Unusual eye movements
- Double vision
- Memory loss
6. Metformin (generic for Glucophage)
Metformin is used alone or in combination with other drugs for treating type 2 diabetes in adults and children.
- The most common side effects of metformin are nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
7. Lipitor (atorvastatin)
Lipitor is a "statin" (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) approved for treating high cholesterol. It also prevents chest pain, stroke, heart attack in individuals with coronary artery disease.
- It causes minor side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, heartburn, and headache.
- Like other statins, it can cause muscle pain and muscle breakdown.
8. Amlodipine (generic for Norvasc)
Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker used for treating high blood pressure and for treatment and prevention of chest pain.
- Its most common side effects are headaches and swelling of the lower extremities.
- Amlodipine can also cause dizziness, flushing, fatigue, nausea, and palpitations.
9. Omeprazole (Prilosec)
Omeprazole is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) that block the production of acid by the stomach.
- Omeprazole like other PPIs is well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:
10. Losartan (Cozaar)
Losartan is an oral medication that belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Losartan is used for treating hypertension, reducing the risk of stroke in patients with hypertension, and left ventricular hypertrophy (overdeveloped heart muscle), and treating people with type 2 diabetes, and hypertensive patients with diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).
- Side effects include:
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REFERENCE: Food and Drug Administration.