From cancer to brain damage – rare side-effects of everyday medicines we happily cast aside

IF you are concerned about having the Covid jab, peace of mind might come from knowing how many risks we take every day with common medicines.

Yesterday we told how the under-30s are to be offered other jabs as it emerged there is a 0.000095 per cent chance of a blood clot from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

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And writing for The Sun, Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted the chances of getting blood clots from the jab are minuscule.

He said: “The safety system that we have around this vaccine is so sensitive that it can pick up events that are four in a million. I’m told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight.”

A rummage through the medicine ­cabinet shows everyday remedies have just as severe rare side-effects.

From painkillers to cough syrup, we check the labels of these medical staples.

Penicillin: Can cause anaphylactic shock

ABOUT half of all antibiotics prescribed in the UK are penicillins, according to a 2018 study in the Journal Of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Diarrhoea/vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Breathing difficulties

Infrequent:

  • Throat swelling
  • Hives/fever
  • Black Hairy Tongue

Rare:

  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Stevens-Johnson  Syndrome, which causes full body blisters.

Aspirin: Can cause kidney failure

AROUND one billion people worldwide take aspirin, according to The Lancet.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Indigestion Heartburn
  • Vomiting

Infrequent: N/A

Rare:

  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Asthma/hives
  • Inflammation of blood vessels
  • Kidney failure/stroke
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Spontaneous bleeding cause by low platelet count

Cough syrup: Can cause brain damage

COUGH, cold and sore throat remedies generated £344million of sales in the UK in 2020, according to Statistica.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset

Infrequent: N/A

Rare:

  • Hyperthermia or an extremely high fever which can lead to brain damage, seizures, coma and death.
  • Low blood pressure.

Paracetamol: Can cause liver damage

WE consume 6,300 tonnes of the painkiller paracetamol each year. In Britain, that works out at an average of 70 pills per person annually.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Infrequent:

  • Chest pain
  • Bodily swelling
  • Heart problems
  • Pancreatitis

Rare:

  • Liver damage
  • Spontaneous bleeding caused by low platelet count

Ibuprofen: Can cause a heart attack

WE take 1.4billion ibuprofen tablets every year, according to a 2005 UK survey.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Skin rash/dizziness
  • Nausea/heartburn

Infrequent:

  • Tinnitus/itching skin
  • Water retention
  • Constipation/abdominal pain

Rare:

  • Heart attack/throat ulcer
  • Kidney failure/liver damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Jaundice
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Skin blistering

Cold and flu tablets: Can cause hallucinations

SALES of cold and flu remedies are down 49 per cent this winter due to Covid hygiene precautions.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Infrequent:

  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rashes
  • Heart palpitations caused by loss of potassium

Rare:

  • Liver failure
  • Large fluid-filled blisters

Contraceptive pill: Can cause breast cancer

MORE than three million women in the UK are prescribed the combined Pill or mini Pill by their GP.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Breast pain
  • Nausea
  • Acne

Infrequent:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Stomach cramps

Rare:

  • Blood clots
  • Kidney disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Gallstones

Antihistamines: Can cause blood disorders

ACCORDING to the NHS, 20 per cent of us get hayfever and 65 per cent of sufferers use antihistamines.

Possible side-effects:

Common:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Infrequent:

  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty peeing

Rare:

  • Haemolytic anae-mia, which destroys red blood cells
  • Blood disorders
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Extreme skin rash

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