Does Your Prescription Offer Unintended Good Side Effects?
While many people avoid taking certain medications or take them improperly due to the risk of possible side effects, some drugs have been shown to have positive side effects such as better heart health, cancer prevention, and heightened creativity. Patients with questions about medication side effects should consult their physician.
The Eight Medications and Resulting Studies:
Used For: Heart Attack Prevention
Potential Good Side Effect: Higher survival rate of colon and prostate cancer
Men that took aspirin at least once a day and were diagnosed with prostate cancer had a 57% lower mortality rate than those who did not take aspirin regularly, according to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Another study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who had survived colon cancer and presented with a unique mutation had a reduced risk of death if they took aspirin regularly as compared to those who didn’t. Speculation from these findings suggests that a protein activated by aspirin may restrict growth of cancer cells.
Used For: Antidepressant
Potential Good Side Effect: Reduced risk of heart failure
Paxil, commonly taken by patients who suffer from depression, has also been shown to protect patients from heart-related problems. According to a study published in ACS Chemical Biology, Paxil inhibits the release of an enzyme that is found in excess during heart failure, called GRK2.
Drug: Levodopa (dopamine agonists)
Used For: Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Potential Good Side Effect: Enhanced creativity
Parkinson’s patients suffer from a number of symptoms such as loss of motor skills, tremors, and stiffness of the muscles. These symptoms can make it challenging to express creativity. Surprisingly, some patients have shown a surge in creativity while being treated for Parkinson’s disease, and research suggests that dopamine agonists and levodopa are responsible for the improved motor function and enhanced creativity.
Used For: Treatment of Psoriasis
Potential Good Side Effect: Relief from depression
Psoriasis results in scaly, red, irritated skin and is often also correlated with depression. Since 40% more patients will be diagnosed with depression alongside psoriasis as compared to people without the condition, the research presented in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology offered a promising outlook for patients. Humira decreased depression scores by an average of six points over 12 weeks.
Used For: Treatment of Diabetes
Potential Good Side Effect: Reduced risk of breast cancer
Metformin is used to treat diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels, improving sensitivity to insulin and reducing the production of glucose in the liver. Recent studies suggest that patients who took Metformin were also 17% less likely to contract breast cancer.
Drug: Beta Blockers
Used For: Reduce Blood Pressure
Potential Good Side Effect: Lower risk of dementia
Men who took beta blockers were half as likely to suffer from vascular brain lesions according to new research presented by Lon White, M.D at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Beta blockers are designed to reduce pulse rates and improve blood flow, which may decrease strain on the blood vessels located in the brain and therefore reduce the risk of dementia.
Drug: Flu Shot
Used For: Reduce Incidence of the Flu
Potential Good Side Effect: Reduced risk of stroke and heart disease
Research suggests that flu shots may actually reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack by almost 50%. According to Jacob A. Udell, M.D., getting a flu vaccination may “block the inflammatory response our bodies mount to combat a flu infection, which projects arterial plaques from rupturing.”
Used For: Reducing Cholesterol
Potential Good Side Effect: Higher chance of successful cancer treatment
People taking statins daily to reduce cholesterol had a 15% lower mortality rate after being diagnosed with cancer as compared to people who were not taking the drug. Physicians speculate that this may be caused by the drug’s ability to block the division of cancer cells since it decreases the amount of cholesterol in the body (which is essential for building cells).