It’s hard to imagine life without medication. We start taking them from the moment we’re born: antibiotics for ear infections, asthma inhalers, insulin for diabetes.
For the most part, medications are essential and life-saving. But some of them can sometimes have strange side effects that you may not be aware of.
Medications That Change the Color of Your Urine
Your kidneys filter your blood and remove waste products, which are then excreted in your urine. Some medications introduce new waste products into your urine, changing its color.
Some medications can turn your urine orange:
- Phenazopyridine – eases the pain associated with UTIs
- Isoniazid – an antibiotic used for treating tuberculosis
- Sulfasalazine – an anti-inflammatory for rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis
Other medications may turn your urine blue or green:
- Amitriptyline – antidepressant
- Cimetidine – acid blocker for heartburn and acid reflux
- Indomethacin – anti-inflammatory for gout
- Methocarbamol – muscle relaxant for neck and back pain
- Metoclopramide – nausea treatment
- Promethazine – antihistamine for allergies and nausea
- Propofol – anesthetic used for surgeries
- Methylene blue – water-based dye used for scans
If you notice that your urine has changed color, it’s important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you if the color change is due to your medication and whether or not you need to be concerned.
Medications That Trigger Strange Dreams and Hallucinations
Some medications can cause strange and vivid dreams or even hallucinations.
The antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram), the sleep aid Lunesta (eszopiclone), and the anti-diabetic metformin are known to cause vivid dreams and even nightmares.
People who take Chantix (varenicline), a medication used to help quit smoking, often report having more vivid, bizarre, and disturbing dreams than usual.
Another sleep aid, Ambien (zolpidem), may sometimes induce unusual complex behaviors. Beyond sleep-walking, some people under the influence of Ambien have driven cars, prepared food, and even committed terrible and regrettable acts without knowing or remembering it.
While most people don’t experience these side effects, it’s important to be aware of them. If you are concerned about any reactions to your medication, speak to your doctor.
Medications That Cause Unusual Body Hair Growth
You might be aware that some treatments can cause hair loss, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, and birth control meds.
But other medications can cause excess hair growth, often in unwanted places. This includes drugs such as:
- testosterone – for sexual dysfunction in men and hot flashes in women
- danazol – for treating endometriosis and fibrocystic breast disease
- corticotropin (ACTH) – for many diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus
- metyrapone – to diagnose problems with the adrenal glands
- anabolic steroids – performance-enhancing drugs
- glucocorticoids – steroids for treating inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and cancer
- cyclosporin – an immunosuppressive agent to prevent rejection of transplanted organs
- minoxidil – vasodilator to help high blood pressure, and also used to promote hair growth intentionally
- diazoxide – vasodilator to treat low blood sugar
If you’re concerned about excess hair growth, speak to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative medication.