Colour-changing urine to hallucinations, here are 5 crazy side effects of prescription medicines

It is often surprising what you can miss by skipping the small print on medication packaging!

These crazy side effects of common medicines will shock you
© LAST DAY ON EARTH/ Arnaud Bresson
These crazy side effects of common medicines will shock you

Unless you are a doctor, it is unlikely that you know all of the possible side effects of the medication you have in your ‘drugs drawer’. And some of them are pretty crazy!

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Here are 5 of the strangest side effects caused by commonly used medication.


The idea of seeing things that aren’t really there gives us the heebie jeebies. Sometimes your brain can trick you into hearing, feeling or even smelling things that only exist in your imagination.

Though most commonly linked to recreational drugs like LSD, some prescription drugs can also have this effect. The sleep aids Ambien and Lunesta can produce these effects, along with Lexapro which is commonly used to treat depression.

Memory loss

Many of us have difficulty remembering details of long-ago events and some of us struggle to even recall what we had for breakfast, but the stories that come from people taking prescription drugs with this side effect are definitely on a whole new level.

According to Pharmacy Times, the drugs to watch out for are nonbenzodiazepine sedative hyponotics, which include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. People taking these can suffer from amnesia, and it can get intense: users of these medicines can cook a meal, drive a car, or even have sex and not remember their actions upon awakening.

Unwanted erection

Priapism is a ‘condition that causes a prolonged and often painful erection, which occurs without sexual stimulation’, according to UCSF Health. In a third of cases, the cause is unknown, but research shows that it can be brought on by associated conditions or prescription and recreational drug use.

A range of antidepressants, including Bupropion, Trazodone, Fluoxetine can cause this uncomfortable reaction. It may also be triggered by alcohol or cocaine use.

Birth defects

Birth defects are one of the most serious side effects that can come from prescription drugs. Pregnant women are always advised to check with their doctor before taking any drugs because even the most innocent of medication can have an effect on an unborn baby!

As the National Library of Medicine (NLM) notes, vitamin A in high doses ‘may exert teratogenic effects in the first 60 days following conception’ - meaning defects such as a cleft lip or spinal cord issues.

Accutane, which is commonly prescribed to treat acne, is another drug that can be very dangerous and even fatal for babies. According to the NLM:

Every pregnancy starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a birth defect. This is called the background risk. Isotretinoin causes birth defects in up to 35% or more of infants whose are exposed during pregnancy.

Even more scarily, ‘the chance of having a miscarriage can be as high as 40% when isotretinoin is used in early pregnancy’.

Read more:Here's the medication you should be careful of taking during a heatwave

Urine changing colour

Finally, your pee might change colour as a result of taking medication. The antidepressant Elavil or the popular pain relief Indocin may turn your urine green-ish blue.

Meanwhile the antibiotic Flagyl can turn your urine black!

Read more:

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Sources used:

National Library of Medicine

UCSF: Drugs Reported to Cause Priapism

Pharmacy Times: 10 Scariest Prescription Drug Side Effects

Everyday Health: Strange Side Effects: Blame It on the Meds

Skipping breakfast can have these side effects on your body Skipping breakfast can have these side effects on your body