Beyond the Label: The Surprising and Potentially Harmful Side Effects of These Five Widely Used Medications

Are you unknowingly putting your liver at risk with the common pain reliever acetaminophen? Do you know that the vitamin C you take for its immune-boosting benefits could be harming your kidneys? And have you ever considered the unexpected cardiac dangers of taking Loperamide for your diarrhoea? In this eye-opening article, we'll delve into the dark side of five common drugs that you might be taking without realizing their unexpected side effects. From liver damage caused by excessive use of acetaminophen to the cardiac risks associated with higher than recommended doses of Loperamide, you'll discover the shocking truth about these drugs and how they can affect your health.

Apr 18, 2023 - 12:23
Apr 20, 2023 - 00:32
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Beyond the Label: The Surprising and Potentially Harmful Side Effects of These Five Widely Used Medications
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Drugs are a double-edged sword. They have the power to heal us and make us feel better, but they can also cause unintended consequences. In this article, we will explore five commonly used drugs and their unexpected side effects.


Acetaminophen, commonly known as paracetamol, is an analgesic drug that is used for the management of fever and pain alone or in combination with opioids or NSAIDs. It is a commonly consumed drug in sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria, where it is available over the counter and easily accessible to both the wealthy and peasants.

Despite the fact that paracetamol is commonly used and generally perceived as an "innocent" drug, it is a great culprit in liver damage in the case of excessive use. Paracetamol is largely metabolized by the liver, in the process paracetamol is converted to NAPQI (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine) which results in the depletion of glutathione and the formation of acetaminophen protein adducts. The adduct formation on mitochondrial proteins modulates respiratory functions which causes elevated levels of free radicals such as superoxide which are very injurious to the liver.


Ascorbic acid, known as vitamin C, is a water-soluble vitamin that is needed in the body to help in wound healing, increase the absorption of iron from food, and support the immune system. It also functions as an antioxidant that protects the body cells from free radicals that are great culprits in heart diseases, cancer, etc.

Vitamin C is consumed by a vast majority of people, especially due to the reason that some formulations of vitamin C are made with a pleasant taste. However, vitamin C poses a great danger to the kidney due to the fact that it is partly converted to oxalate and excreted in urine which increases the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation in the kidney.


Loperamide, sold under popular brand names such as Imodium and Limotil, helps to stop diarrhea by acting on the Mu-opioid receptors which slows down the movement of the guts and, in turn, slows down contractions of the intestines. It is cheaply available over the counter in most parts of Nigeria and is used as an emergency solution to diarrhea and running stomach. However, higher than recommended doses of Loperamide are capable of inducing serious cardiac adverse effects like QT interval prolongation, Torsades de pointes and other ventricular arrhythmias, syncope, and cardiac arrest.


Blood tonics, whose major constituents include iron, folic acid, vitamin B-complex, and other vitamins, are used in cases such as anemia, malnutrition, etc. They help to restore the hemoglobin in the blood to ensure proper transport of oxygen to the cells which helps combat weakness and tiredness. Folic acid and the vitamins present help to support the immune system. Blood tonics have been the cause of most cases of iron poisoning that has led to the death of many children. Iron toxicity manifests from mild symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting and in some cases, low blood pressure, tachypnea, and seizures. If left unattended, iron poisoning could lead to multi-organ failure and eventually the death of the individual.


Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor used to reduce the acidity of the gastrointestinal system in cases of gastrointestinal disorders such as peptic ulcer disease (PUD). It is a commonly used drug in Nigeria, and it is available over the counter. Omeprazole works by inhibiting the action of the proton pump, which is responsible for producing acid in the stomach. This leads to a reduction in the amount of acid produced in the stomach, thus reducing the symptoms of PUD.

However, the prolonged use of Omeprazole can lead to a rebound increase of gastrointestinal acidity, which can worsen the symptoms of PUD. This can lead to a vicious cycle where the patient takes more Omeprazole to alleviate the symptoms, leading to further rebound acidity. Therefore, Omeprazole should be taken under the guidance of a licensed doctor or pharmacist to avoid the rebound effect.

In conclusion, it is important to note that drugs have side effects, and some of these side effects can be unexpected. The drugs discussed in this article are commonly used in Nigeria and other parts of the world, and it is important to be aware of their potential side effects to prevent harm to patients. It is also important to consult a healthcare provider before taking any medication to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Stay informed, and stay healthy!


Thank you for reading this blog post on unexpected side effects of commonly used drugs. It's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these medications, especially when they are easily accessible over the counter.

Remember, always follow the recommended dosage and consult with a licensed healthcare professional before taking any medication, as everyone's body reacts differently.

If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends and family to spread awareness about the potential dangers of these drugs.

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Thank you for your support, and stay healthy and safe!

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Pharm. Jones ✍️

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Pharm. Jones Hi there! My name is Emmanuel Ameh, and I am a pharmacist & content writer with a passion for crafting engaging and informative content that connects with readers. My goal is to create content that informs, entertains, and inspires my readers, and I am always looking for new and exciting ways to tell stories and share information in my area of specialization. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I hope you enjoy reading my content as much as I enjoy writing it!