Plenty of legal prescription drug users are under the impression that, as long as they are used according to their doctor’s orders and the directions on the label, these drugs only have a healthy, healing effect. The truth of the matter is, unfortunately, that lots of people actually are suffering from some of the major side effects of some of these drugs — and those people weren’t abusing the drugs at all, but rather were simply following the instructions of their doctors.

It is high time that we look at the truly possible dangers of using prescription drugs. Although shocking, it is actually quite logical as to why these drugs are so dangerous. Pharmaceutical companies earn huge profits on the purchases of drugs, so if one kind of drug ends up faulty, they can easily focus their resources on a new kind of drug for huger profits. Major drug companies need to pay fines surprisingly often — between the years 2004 and 2010, for instance, they paid out $7 billion in lawsuits, penalties, and fines alone. When you take into account the fact that these drug companies are making hundreds of billions of dollars in profit, however, these fines are absolutely minuscule.

Even FDA-approved drugs are not always safe to use. There has been an average of two dozen approved drugs every year, some which have major health issues associated with them and have side effects that last long after the user stops taking them. When the FDA is informed about an issue that a patient has had with their drug, their action can take years to materialize into anything — and usually, this is simply more warning labels, some medical reports, and some special programs that patients can enroll in. Most people do not have time for this slow-moving action to come about, so other routes are necessary.

In many cases, these routes take the form of a lawsuit. Plenty of consumers who have undergone injury or other serious health effects from a drug will file a lawsuit against a drug company in order to cover their exceedingly high medical costs, and to compensate for some of their suffering.

So what kinds of side effects are actually part of the risk here? The exact list is too long to put here — and is ever growing longer — but basically, the side effects can range in severity and type. Birth defects, liver damage, blood clots, bladder cancer or other cancers, Crohn’s disease, major uncontrollable bleeding, strokes, heart failure or heart attacks, suicidal behavior, and many more make up this horrific list.

Be sure to therefore do the proper research to ensure that any drug that your doctor prescribes is indeed a good idea for you to take. In many cases, there are healthier, natural alternatives that can lead to relief from the problem you are taking the drugs for to begin with, but without any of the negative side effects that come with prescription drugs. It is important to note, however, the many cases where prescription drugs have indeed caused people to heal, with minimal side effects or with ones that were short-term or simply worth it to get over whatever ailment they have.