8 OTC Drugs That Are Slowly Killing You

In the 21st century, we tend to believe that for nearly every ailment there is an over-the-counter treatment to remedy it. What we may not realize, however, is that our reliance on these instant fixes may have some serious negative consequences. Below you’ll find a list of the most common, and dangerous, over-the-counter drugs that you should stop using immediately.

Sleep Aids

This includes Nyquil, Tylenol PM, Benadryl, and similar medications. Using these medications can lead to addiction and even cravings for/addictions to hard drugs and alcohol. Taking the medicines often or in excess can also lead to hallucinations and seizures. One study showed that out of a test group of more than 10,000 patients, those that took hypnotics (or sleep aids) had an elevated risk of dying prematurely. Daytime drowsiness, fogginess, dizziness, and irritability are additional side effects of sleep aids.

Sudafed Congestion

Although effective at relieving nasal congestion, this medicine is particularly risky because of its main active ingredient, pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine can be converted to make methamphetamine, which gives you the idea that it could certainly be dangerous. Studies also suggest that is may be unhealthy for your heart, causing elevated blood pressure and heart rates.

Cough and Cold Medicines for Kids

This includes popular medicines like Dimetapp and Children’s Tylenol Cold. Reports show that children may not be able to efficiently metabolize the main ingredient, dextromethorphan, which could lead to toxicity in their small and developing bodies. There are also some reports suggesting that children’s cough syrup may result in seizures, heart problems, breathing difficulty, coma, neurological problems, and even death. If your child is suffering from a cold or similar symptom, try some alternative, natural remedies to alleviate their discomfort white protecting their health.


Laxatives are some of the most common (and over-used) medications that one can pick up at the store. The FDA warned in 2014 that using laxatives can have serious consequences, even resulting in death. Because laxatives work by drawing water out of the rest of the body and into the stool to soften it, utilizing laxatives can result in dehydration.

Dehydration, especially if it is a regular occurrence, as well as out-of-whack electrolyte levels can lead to kidney damage, cardiovascular issues, and even death. Your body may also become reliant on laxatives and be unable to initiate the excretion process by itself without the aid of a laxative, and this could lead to additional long-term issues, including colon cancer.


This includes typical pain relief pills, such as Advil, Motrin, and generic ibuprofen. NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and more than 30 million people take a NSAID in one form or another every day. They are often prescribed and utilized to treat pain and inflammation, especially of the joints and muscles. These common painkillers can turn into cold-blooded killers, and do so more than 16,000 times per year. More than 100,000 Americans end up in the hospital every year because of side effects from NSAIDs. Taking a NSAID regularly, as many arthritis sufferers do, can wreak havoc on the GI system and actually result in accelerated joint deterioration.

In addition to causing ulcers and other stomach problems, NSAIDs can also cause heart problems. One study found that taking NSAIDs can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm which can lead to additional complications. The FDA has now forced makers of NSAIDs to mark their label with a warning that these products may induce a heart attack or stroke. Certainly, dealing with some mild pain is not worth the risk of dying or causing long-term complications.


The most well-known acetaminophen is Tylenol, but acetaminophen is also found in most cough and cold medications as well. Acetaminophen is often used to treat pain and lower fevers. Unfortunately, it is also associated with liver and kidney failure, and is responsible for more hospital visits than any other over-the-counter medicine, according to the Cleveland Clinical Journal of Medicine.

Acid Blockers

Pepcid AC, Zantac, and Prevacid are some of the most commonly used acid blockers available over-the-counter. While they may be intermittently effective at treating acid reflux and heartburn, they can also become very addicting and the body may lose its ability to fully function without them. Also referred to as proton pump inhibitors, these medicines can cause some serious health issues, including malnutrition, peptic ulcer disease, heart attack, bone loss, and various infections (including pneumonia and c. diff.).


Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer are all commonly turned to when someone is in need of digestive relief due to over-eating, eating something that didn’t settle well, or excess gas/bloat. Practically all antacids available over the counter contain aluminum to some extent. Aluminum has been linked numerous times to cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Using antacids regularly can also lead to bowel irregularities, kidney stones, or malnutrition.

Although you may be used to running to the store or reaching into your medicine cabinet every time you have sore muscles, a headache, or a runny nose, it may be time to put that practice into check. Hopefully, by now it is clear that many of the medicines that we use on a regular basis pose serious, and potentially deadly risks to us every time we use them. To protect your health and that of your family, seek out alternative (natural), safe remedies such as herbs and essential oils. Of course, also be sure you’re eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly to prevent many of the problems that need fixing in the first place.


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One Response Comment

  • Hempsoft  June 17, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for the information. Great blog!


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