Top Medicines Could Be Killing You
Increased risk ... Nurofen has been found
to increase the risk of heart attack by 24 per cent
Some of the most commonly used medicines in your medicine cabinet could be making you sick and others could be killing you.
A spate of drug recalls, warnings from our medicine watchdog and new medical studies have raised serious concerns about some of our most heavily used medicines from prescription arthritis drugs to acne and heart treatments.
Even common over-the-counter medicines such as pain reliever ibuprofen and some vitamins and herbal treatments have been found to be risky.
A Daily Telegraph investigation has for the first time brought together a series of warnings from our drug watchdog and some medical journals.
Consumer health advocate and former member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee Martyn Goddard said the extensive list showed consumers needed a better process to inform them of drug risks.
Arthritis sufferers have the most to worry about.
The popular arthritis treatment Vioxx was withdrawn from sale by its manufacturer last September because trials showed it increased risks of heart attacks and strokes.
But drug watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has also issued warnings about other arthritis treatments, advising people taking more than 200mg a day of the arthritis treatment Celebrex or more than 15mg a day of Mobic to review their treatment regime with a doctor.
This is because high doses of these drugs could increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A study in this month's British Medical Journal found another arthritis treatment, diclofenac, commonly sold as Voltaren, increased the risk of heart attacks by 55 per cent.
And pain reliever ibuprofen, commonly sold as Nurofen, increased the risk of a heart attack by 24 per cent, the BMJ study found.
Menopausal women were warned last year hormone replacement treatments could increase their risk of a stroke and the TGA has advised women to weigh the benefits of the treatment against the increased risks of heart disease and breast cancer.
Earlier this month the TGA issued a warning about the anti-acne drug isotretinoin, sold as Accure, Oratane and Roaccutane, after receiving 21 reports of patients experiencing suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
The Adverse Drug Reactions Committee has warned the depression medication Reboxetine has been linked to reduced urine flow, and ejaculation problems in men.
Amiodarone, a drug which treats heart problems and is used by about 35,000 people a year, has been linked to the deaths of 46 Australians with serious respiratory, thyroid, heart, muscle and liver disorders.
The potential problems
Vioxx: Withdrawn from sale because of increased risk of heart attack
Celebrex, Mobic, Voltaren, Nurofen, HRT: Increased risk of heart attack
Accure, Oratane, Roaccutane: Suicidal thoughts and birth defects
Reboxetine: Urine and sex problems
Amiodaraone: Respiratory, thyroid, heart muscle and liver disorders and death
Elidel: Linked to skin cancer and lymphoma
Fosamax, Actonel, Pamisol, Zometa and Aredia: Jaw pain, tooth problems and eye problems
Prozac and SSRI: Suicidal thoughts in children
The Therapeutic Goods Administration
Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)