START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

3 Prescription Drugs That Do More Harm Than Good

  • 1 of 5
3 Prescription Drugs That Do More Harm Than Good

By Pamela Weintraub, Experience Life

True story: He had been a faculty member in three departments of a major university with an IQ north of 180. Over time, the professor lost the ability to recognize people he’d known closely for decades and to read more than a page of text at a time. He’d repeat the same thing over and over, not recalling he’d already said it. The diagnosis: rapidly progressive Alzheimer’s. When he went to his 50th college reunion, he wore a sign around his neck with his name and the statement, I have Alzheimer’s. Old friends needed an explanation for why he couldn’t recognize people he’d known for decades or repeated himself endlessly throughout the night.

His condition seemed hopeless when he applied to enter a clinical trial testing a new Alzheimer’s drug at Duke University.

Before he started the clinical trial, his wife took him off his cholesterol-lowering statin drug, simvastatin. By the time he got to Duke, he was no longer qualified to participate; he didn’t have Alzheimer’s, doctors said. Instead, he entered another study: The Statin Study Group, directed by University of California at San Diego (UCSD) physician and scientist Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD. “There are people with extremely severe functional deficits caused by statin drugs,” Golomb says. Two years after he stopped taking simvastatin, the patient reported his recovery was complete. His mind was clear and he was back to reading three newspapers daily.

Statin’s side effects are rarely so severe, but they are far more common — and numerous — than generally thought. And statins aren’t the only popular drug with unpredictable side effects. Three common classes of prescription drugs in the United States — statins for reducing cholesterol, angiotensin II antagonists for lowering blood pressure, and proton pump inhibitors for reducing stomach acid — can all cause side effects worse than the problems they aim to treat. And the symptoms caused by one drug may necessitate the use of the others.

For large numbers of people with questionable risk factors, these drugs deliver little or no benefit, but that hasn’t stopped pharmaceutical manufacturers from aggressively marketing them as preventive treatments. Underlying their marketing strategy is a host of scientific studies that “exaggerate positive results and bury negative ones,” says Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer (Bloomsbury USA, 2007). “The science on which so much of prescribing is based is biased, shaky, over-marketed and misinterpreted. These are excellent drugs when used on the right people. The problem comes when they’re marketed to everyone on the planet. There’s benefit to a few people, but when you start giving them to everybody, they may do more harm than good.”

Next: The First of the Three Trouble-Makers

  • 1 of 5

Read more: Cholesterol, Conditions, Drugs, Health, , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


+ add your own
2:15AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

thanks for the informative article. The statins i have used in the past has left me a legacy of sore muscles to really really painful muscles especially in my thighs. Im sick to death of taking drugs and sick to death with dealing with issues assoc. with them. I am very sensitive to drugs and have tried quite a few, chopping and changing, to no avail. Clearly I cant be the only one, can I? I dont think so. When you stop statins your muscles are still effected which when I first started them wasnt told about. Nice Huh?

1:42AM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

Great info. I agree, there are way too many medicines that we should do our homework on. Thanks for sharing!

3:19AM PDT on May 16, 2013

Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

6:56AM PDT on May 14, 2013

thanks for posting

6:25AM PDT on Apr 18, 2013


4:07PM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

Prescription drugs are poison virtually nothing can't be cured with proper diet and exercise,vaccines serve only weaken your immune system,big pharma starts poisoning you at birth with them.I am 41 yrs old and have never been to a doctor other than the forced stuff in the military I exercise almost daily and eat right take a few supplements I haven't had so much as cold in 20 yrs. I whole hearted believe its from allowing my body to heal itself rather than taking there pills,I take q10 C ,B, supplements yr round and D in the winter,also use a mix of peppermint speariment and almond oils for tooth brushing and haven't been to dentist in 20 yrs. The last 4 yrs or so I've been organic juicing atleast one drink a day,do a 5 day partial juice fast (eat 1 plain salad a day during)once a month to cleanse myself of the red meat and pork I can't give up.Man survived thousands of yrs. Without there pills and vaccines.

12:57PM PDT on Apr 17, 2013


food is also medicine and we need to educate ourselves about this and use this as well as part of our healthcare. It is too bad this is not incorporated as part of our general education from K-12 and beyond, perhaps it will be some day.

12:54PM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

The majority of our doctors have been trained in "allopathic" or "standard" medicine and they have been taught to use pharmaceutical drugs to manage health problems. This is what they know. They have not been trained in in natural alternative medications or medical treatments and therefore do not feel confident or comfortable in using or prescribing them. This does not make them demons, it's simply a matter of how they have been trained and the kind of knowledge they have been given. There are a few exceptions of doctors who will incorporate both types of treatment, but they are few and far between and very hard to find. Insurance companies do not want to pay for alternative medical practitioners or treatments, which further compunds the problem, and since insurance companies will not pay for these things you have to pay for them yourself. We have to be very proactive in being our own health care advocates, do the research on the drugs being prescribed to us, do the research on the natural alternatives, and figure out what seems to be the safest and most effective treatment. However herbal and natural remedies also have natural chemical properties (which is why they work) and you need to have some knowledge of how to use them safely, what are safe and effective doses, and which ones not to combine, or not to use at all if you have certain health issues, etc. Nutrition also plays a big part in our health, food is also medicine and we need to educate ourselves about thi

12:04PM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

Thank you SOOO much for this outstanding article! I was given statins for a couple of years for high cholesterol which I was told was of a hereditary nature, and had so many problems because of them. Severe and constant muscle aches and pains, rise in blood pressure, rise in blood sugar, numbness tingling and severe pain in my feet, charley horses in my legs every day, memory problems, eventually became diagnosed with pre-diabetes, had blood in my urine (due to the muscle breakdown caused by the statins). After doing some research discovered all of these things to be side effects of taking statins. My question to my doctor was, if they cause the breakdown of the muscle tissues, and the heart is a muscle, how is this "protecting" my heart and it is worth the damage being done to my body overall? And the statins did not even do much to reduce the cholesterol levels! I have since gone off the statins and all of the above problems have disappeared. I have always been extremely leary of pharmacuetical drugs, they seem to alleviate one symptom ( nor cure the CAUSE) and cause many other problems in addition to the original one. I am a huge advocate of dietary changes and natural herbal and other natural suppliments. I now use Red Rice Yeast in place of the statin, fish oil, and CoQ10 and have never felt better! Thank you so much for teling the truth about these drugs!

2:17PM PST on Nov 29, 2012


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Love the ears. Can't believe how much food his cheeks hold! Thanks.

Good reminders. I do this quote often. Keeps me sane

i want to share to the whole world on how Dr SUKU the chief Priest of all the spell casters Helped m…

very sweet dogs!


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!