Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, the same diseases that wiped out our ancestors centuries ago wouldn't even make a Rite Aid pharmacist look up from their Sudoku puzzle today. But no drug is perfect, and some of their side effects might make you pray for a good ol' fashioned plague or two. (PSA: Some of these links may show erect penises and/or rotting flesh, so don't click on these at work unless you really want to mess with the HR rep.)
That's right, these horror stories are not all brought to you by powerful exotic drugs. Pop a few ibuprofen to ease a headache, and there is a statistically minute but real chance you'll get Stevens-Johnson Syndrome instead. Sufferers of the disease experience symptoms akin to being shelled by mustard gas, including burning eyes, a stinging throat, coughing, and a lovely purple glow (just for fun).
This is occasionally followed by a wave of painful lesions, blisters, or sloughing -- the technical term for when your skin peels off in layers like you're molting. Skin damage may result in second or third-degree burns, followed by a nasty fever and diarrhea. The mortality rate is low, but you might wish you were dead when the long-term effects -- like scarring, vision problems, and respiratory failure -- set in. And all if that doesn't get you, just wait until your hair and toenails fall off.
Amiodarone is a powerful, life-saving antiarrhythmic reserved for patients with extreme heart irregularities. Oh, also it might transform you into Hulky Smurf. Because the drug is stored in the skin long after use, it can turn you a weird shade of blue. It also turns your eyes yellow, to go with the blue.
But hold up, reckless Avatar cosplayers -- the drug can also alter your personality, gait, and mental health. Your extremities could bloat up like a novelty foam finger, or you might experience difficulty speaking, start shaking uncontrollably, or even develop an acute sensitivity to light. There's also reports of paranoia, hallucinations, dizziness, impairment of spatial and temporal awareness, a tendency toward angry outbursts, and the development of rambling, illogical opinions "that cannot be changed by fact." Unfortunately, despite the matching color palette, this does not solely explain the existence of Twitter.
Beta blockers are used to lower blood pressure, which is ironic, since nothing spikes your BP like hearing about Peyronie's disease, a potential side effect which leaves victims with deformed, shrunken, useless penises.
Urologists aren't entirely sure what causes it, so we're gonna go with spurned witches. More reasonable guesses include nerve damage resulting from affected blood flow, but whatever the cause, the result is the same: penile plaque (your life is worse just knowing that phrase, and we haven't even started!) hardens and renders the tissues inflexible, twisting the penis into a sort of gnarled boomewang.
Untangling the dangle is its own nightmare, involving implants, grafts, lasers, and/or wearing a dong sling (no, seriously) eight hours a day for six months straight. So there's another important fact you learned today: Dick holsters are a real thing.
Among the most popular drugs prescribed to post-menopausal women are bisphosphonates. These are supposed to interrupt the normal process by which the body breaks down tissue, preventing fractures and breakages. In more than a few instances, however, it resulted in necrosis of the mandible instead. That's right, the drug that's supposed to keep your bones intact might instead rot your face.
Doctors call it BRONJ, which stands for BP-related osteonecrosis of the jaw. Why the jaw and not anywhere else? Because germs have the greatest access there, being so close to surface contaminants, and the area has a higher cell turnover rate. In the worst cases, patients have difficulty speaking and eating, because it's hard to do either of those things with a jaw the consistency of a hunk of chalk. About 600 cases have been reported in the UK, and most of the time, it's brought on by something as mundane as a dentist's visit. Did you really need another excuse to avoid the dentist?
This is a hyphema, an eye ailment in which blood seeps into the cavity between the iris and the cornea. As you can imagine, it's extremely painful, and it can lead to permanent vision damage. (You don't actually see red; rather, you see nothing.) It can also cause bloody tears, which sounds like a terrible excuse a demon would use.
Oh, and the reason warfarin is so good at thinning blood in the first place? It was developed in the '50s as a type of rat poison -- one that caused rodents to bleed to death internally. On the bright side, it's possible this is what killed Stalin, so maybe it all evens out.
At first, pelvic mesh seemed like a godsend for patients suffering from incontinence or prolapses thanks to weakened pelvic muscles. It might be unpleasant to think about a circle cut from a window screen being jammed into your soft spots, but if it prevents your organs from falling out of your body, that's a win, right?
Maybe not. Transvaginal mesh has a tendency to shift, and the edges of the mesh are like a serrated knife. Doctors call it "erosion," while we call it *unintelligible screaming*. In addition to steak-knifing you from the inside, "erosion" can cause serious infection and even death. And yet the manufacturers, whose executives have made jokes about "screwing a wire brush," clearly don't give a damn. Naturally, lawsuits abounded, but the public didn't seem to care about them very much. That all changed when stories broke about affected women's sex partners being sliced and diced too. "Women dying? Eh. What else is on? Dicks being sliced? That's front-page news!"
But hey, if you've still got to take this stuff, at least keep it organized.
Support your favorite Cracked writers with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.
Follow us on Facebook and call us in the morning.