5 Drug Facts That Might Save Your Life (Slideshow)

A dose of truth about medications

Multiple types of medication

When it comes to medications, facts matter. Get a dose of truth about statins, prescription painkillers and more.


  • 1. Acetaminophen is in more drugs than you think

    Acetaminophen is in Tylenol, Pamprin, Alka-Seltzer Plus and other over-the-counter drugs. And it’s in prescription medications such as Vicodin and Percocet (check the label for APAP). Don’t mix and match — too much acetaminophen can damage your liver.

    Learn how much is too much
  • 2. Water is the safest bet for taking pills

    Don’t take pills with just any liquid. Especially not alcohol, which can seriously interfere with the way your body absorbs medication. Use water, and swallow enough to keep pills from dissolving before they reach your stomach.

    Bust more myths about medications
  • 3. Statins aren't just for heart disease

    Most people who have had a heart attack or stroke, bypass surgery, stents, or diabetes should take statins. But statins can help some patients with high “bad” LDL cholesterol but no heart disease, too. Statins lower LDL levels by 20 to 60 percent.

    Find out more about the “big six” heart medications
  • 4. Your genes may change how you react

    More than 100 FDA-approved medications have “pharmacogenetic” information on their labels. Why? Because some drugs — including certain antidepressants and Warfarin — will affect you differently based on your genetics. Some may have serious side effects for you that don't affect others.

    Discover how medications and genetics mix
  • 5. More painkillers don’t mean less pain

    After a severe injury, two prescription pain pills may be more effective than one. But over time, taking too much backfires. Pain medications may inhibit the way your brain and spinal cord interpret pain signals — leaving you a higher tolerance and more pain.

    Get more facts about prescription painkillers

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  • Jean

    My 81 year old mother has been taking Xanax for the past year and my sisters and I seem to think that it is doing more harm than good for her. She takes it twice a day (.5) milligrams and we think its making her very forgetful and paranoid.. she was never like this before.. She’s also takes remeron and 2 different blood pressure meds. She also has a problem with her platelets..They are very low and she gets a weekly shot or IVIG depending her count weekly. What do you think is causing her paranoia.

    • Beth Burns

      I’m a RN who has worked in geriatrics for years. The Xanax is not the problem. Your mom has some form of dementia and needs an antipsychotic. She will only get worse if you stop the Xanax. Please bring her to a neurologist or a geriatrician ASAP

      • RUN!

        Beth, you do NOT have enough information on this woman as a patient to give that kind of advice. And I’d think with a license you would know that “implied” professional directives are ripe for lawsuit.. The ONLY thing this person should hear is “talk to the doctor” or “get a second opinion.” And you SHOULD also know that in a geriatric patient Xanax can cause all sorts of unusual side effects.. The combination of IVIG and REMERON..with her other meds? ..well, I think you exceeded your professional expertise in spades here. An antipsychotic? You are WAY OFF on that without a major work up and cognitive functioning tests. For God’s sake, simple chronic dehydration can lead to all this.

        • Deb

          Pot calling the kettle black

        • Bee

          She’s not that far off, someone who has taken Xanax for a length of time cannot just stop it, it be very harmful, and being in the medical field I would be inclined to think there is some dementia problems going on also. Only one out of line is YOU!

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Jean – I would suggest an evaluation with either a neurologist who would evaluate her cognitive function (such as http://my.clevelandclinic.org/neurological_institute/lou-ruvo-brain-health/default.aspx) or a gerentologist (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/medicine-institute/geriatric-medicine/default.aspx) . With aging – there are many things that can impact your mom’s function including brain function as well as the impact of her meds and possibly other medical conditions. She should be evaluated soon – Let us know if we can help. betsyRN

  • Levy kimble

    I been taking loran 7.5 325 for back pain . Sometimes a take aspirin that have 225 of acetaminophen in it . I 60 years old . Is this harmful

  • Levy kimble

    I been taking hydrocortisone/acetamin 7.5 -325mg for back pain . I am 60 . Is this harmful. Sometimes I take equate headache relief which havv250 mg . Of acetaminophen .

  • Ann

    I’ve had all sorts of pain issues. A long time ago, one of my doctors prescribed Roxycodone, which is Oxycodone without the Acetominophen. He has concerns about the “Tylenol.” It worked well. The funny thing is that I’ve heard it was taken off the market for fear of abuse and the only way you might be able to get it is through some compounding pharmacies, and that is limited…for a variety of reasons. This doesn’t make any sense at all, as Percocet is readily available for bad pain with the Tylenol in it. What’s with this????

    Personally, I think when medical professionals give advice via Internet they should chose their words carefully as in saying things like there is a small chance your relative could have (blank), so please see a doctor. Or, that particular side effect is possible, please check with a doctor. HOWEVER, I’ve gotten some tremendous insight from medical folks and laypeople via on-line postings that have SIGNIFICANTLY helped me and my family!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes doctors don’t think outside the box or are rushed, etc. and it is good to consider a reasonable, different, experienced outside opinion. This is why getting second opinions are always important…but truthfully I have gotten some new and good thoughts via Internet postings as well.

    Good article, but I’m conflicted about #3 and statins. I think they should be used with discretion/caution.