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Perilous Prescriptions

Thursday, May 11, 2017

We generally don’t think of medicines as harmful — they are supposed to help us get better — but some of them are habit-forming. Khevna Pandit tells you about five addictive medicines that you should be cautious about taking

Painkillers and medicines are used to provide temporary relief. However, misusing prescribed medication can have harmful consequences, one of them being addiction. The term misuse doesn’t just mean abusing these drugs; using someone else’s prescription or taking medication in a way or in amounts not suggested by the doctor also constitute misuse of prescription medication.

This happens because certain types of medication give us a feeling of euphoria (or a high), a feeling that a regular user of the medication eventually gets used to. Eventually, the cravings for the drug grow and this can impact their health and life. The National Institute of Drug Abuse in the US estimated a whopping 48 million people who have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. And, these drugs can have negative side-effects in the long run. Here we list five drugs that you can get hooked on.


You may be familiar with the name of this drug if you’ve followed the popular television show House M.D. This opiate-based painkiller can cause feelings of euphoria when overused and is easy to get addicted to. Those suffering from this type of addiction find it very difficult to quit.

Know more: If you’ve been taking vicodin and are feeling its addictive effects, you’ll have to gradually wean yourself off the drug. Stopping the drug abruptly isn’t a good idea. Gradually reduce your dose and seek professional help for a more guided approach.


A well-known narcotic pain reliever, demerol is a dangerous opioid that some people have trouble discontinuing. It is addictive because it inhibits the section of our brain that controls pain. Serious withdrawal symptoms including fever, chills, anxiety and suicidal thoughts can make this drug a difficult one to let go of.

Know more: Slowly revert back to the allowed or prescribed dose of demerol. Consult a doctor and taper off the drug with a strict schedule. You can also join a support group to help you keep track of your progress while getting the support that you need.


Commonly prescribed to children and young adults to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), this drug is usually used as a substitute for cocaine. Ritalin can cause a considerable increase or decrease in blood pressure and it can even result in psychotic episodes with dangerous overuse.

Know more: Ritalin addiction can vary from person to person, and so, it is advisable to reach out for therapeutic treatments. Consider different types of treatments that are suitable for the symptoms you experience.


Another opioid-based medicine, oxycodone is a common pain reliever that’s easily available in the market. It is often given after major surgery to provide pain relief. Withdrawal symptoms include chills, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and depression, which can make this a difficult drug to discontinue.

Know more: Reduce the frequency gradually; however, make sure to do this under the guidance of a professional.


Amphetamine is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. When overused, its side-effects are strikingly similar to those of cocaine. An individual consuming large amounts of amphetamines may experience a temporary high coupled with bouts of exhaustion. Another notable side-effect of this drug is anxiety.

Know more: If you’re trying to cut back on this stimulant, opt for in-patient treatment (24 hours of focussed care away from the drug) or outpatient treatment (at home).

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