105 drugs that are more harmful than beneficial: here is the complete list

105 drugs that are more harmful than beneficial: here is the complete list

InformaMedici Project: This article was created with the intention of being a tool for citizens, capable of informing and updating their doctor on the latest news and / or publications. If the orders of doctors and scientific societies do not fulfill this task, the people will take care of it.

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The harmful drugs on the list are often responsible for even serious adverse effects that have caused hospitalizations or even deaths but are still on the market. Every time we take a medicine we think we are doing the best for our health but unfortunately in some cases it is not so.

Since 2010 Prescribe, an independent scientific journal, analyzed and examined the efficacy and side effects of drugs sold in the European Union. Each year it published an updated "black list" in which it indicated, with clear information, which drugs are the negative effects of which far outweighed the beneficial effects.
The 2020 evaluation, published a few days ago, is composed of 105 harmful drugs: twelve more than the previous list.

In addition to the medicines to be avoided, divided by category of treatment, the guide described the method "Reliable, rigorous and independent" used for evaluation. Furthermore, it did not limit itself to discarding risky drugs but, where possible, indicated an alternative drug therapy that was more effective or less harmful.

2020 Prescribe list: added twelve harmful drugs

The update released a few days ago includes several medicines, both in common use and specific for some pathologies. Among the new harmful drugs is Tanakan, a generic medicine prescribed for the prevention of cognitive decline that contains Ginko biloba extract. The risk of bleeding, digestive disorders and seizures for the scientific journal does not justify its use.
In the new entries also some cough syrups that contain pentoxivine: the Clarix syrup for children and the Vicks syrup for adults 0,15%. They gained entry on the list because the active substance exposes to heart ailments and serious allergic reactions. We also find sore throat medications that contain the alpha-amylase enzyme or tenoxicam, a corticosteroid, which are responsible for even serious allergic reactions.

In the latest update, Prescribe he also advised against the use of medicines used for diarrhea or intestinal disorders that contain clay, as it is often contaminated with lead. The full report with the list of all drugs, it can be found on the Prescgere website, while here you can consult which are the twelve drugs malicious additions in the updated version of the 2020 list.

Cancerology - Hematology

  • defibrotide (Dephythelium)
  • Mifamurtis (Mepact)
  • nintedanib (Vargatef)
  • Panobinostat (Fardak)
  • Trabectedin (Yondelis)
  • vandetanib (Caprelsa)
  • Vinflunine (Javlor)


  • Aliskirene (Rasilez)
  • bezafibrate (Befizal)
  • Ciprofibrate (Lipanor or other) 
  • dronedarone (Multiq)
  • Fenofibrate (lipantyl or other) 
  • Ivabradine (Procoralan or other) 
  • Nicorandil (ikorel or other) 
  • Olmesartan (Alteis, Olmetec, Axeler, Sevikar)
  • Ranolazine (Raanexa)
  • Trimetazidine (vastarel or other)
  • Vernakalant (brinavess)

Dermatology - Allergology

  • Mequitazine (Primalan)
  • Promethazine injection (Phenergan)
  • Tacrolimus dermique (Protopic

Diabetology - Nutrition

  • alogliptinVipidia and associated with metformin in vipdomet)
  • Bupropion + naltrexone (mysimba)
  • LinagliptinTrajenta and associated with metformin in Jentadueto)
  • Orlistat (Xenical or other)
  • Pioglitazone (Acts)
  • Saxagliptin (Onglyza and associated with metformin in Komboglyze)
  • sitagliptinJanuvia, Xelevia associated with metformin in Janumet, Velmetia)
  • vildagliptinGalvus and associated with metformin in Eucreas)

Pain - Rheumatology

  • Aceclofenac (cartrex or other)
  • Capsaicin in patch (Cut it out)
  • celecoxib (Celebrex or other)
  • Colchicine + Opium Powder + Tiemonium (Colchimax
  • Denosumab 60mg (Prolia)
  • Diacerein (art. 50 or other)
  • diclofenac (Turn away or other) 
  • Etoricoxib (Arcoxia or other)
  • Glucosamine (Voltaflex or other)
  • Ketoprofen gel (Ketum gel or other)
  • Oral mephenesin (Decontractyl) and ointment from Mephenesin (balm Decontractyl)
  • Metocarbamol (Lumirelax)
  • Parecoxib (Dynastat)
  • General Piroxicam (Feldene or other) 
  • Prednisolone + dipropylene glycol salicylate (cortisal)
  • Quinine (Hexaquine, Okimus)
  • tenoxicam (Tylcotyl
  • Thiocolchicoside (Miorel or other)


  • Obeticholic acid (Ocaliva)
  • attapulgite (Actapulgite or in combination in Gastropulgitis)
  • Cimetidine (Cimetidine Mylan or other) 
  • Diosmectite (Smecta or other)
  • domperidone (motilium or other)
  • Droperidol (Dropeptan or other)
  • Hydrotalcite (Rennieliquo)
  • Kaolin (in combination with gastropax e Neutroses)
  • Metopimazine (Vogalene, vogalib)
  • Montmorillonite beidellitique aka monmectite (Bedelix and in combination in GELOX)
  • Nifuroxazide (Panfurex or other)
  • Prucalopride (Resolor)
  • 0,4% Ointment of Glyceril Trinitrate (Rectogesic)

Gynecology - Endocrinology

  • Conjugated equine estrogens + bazedoxifene (Duavive)
  • Tibolone (Livial or other)
  • Ulipristal 5mg (esmya)

Infectious diseases

  • Moxifloxacin (Izilox or other)


  • Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)
  • donepezilAricept or other)
  • Flunarizine (sibelium)
  • Galantamine (reminyl or other)
  • Ginkgo biloba (One by one or other)
  • Memantine (Ebixa or other)
  • Naphthhydrofuril (Praxylene or other)
  • natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • oxetorone (Nocertone)
  • Rivastigmine (Excelon or other)
  • Teriflunomide (aubagio)
  • Tolcapone (Tasmar)


  • Ciclosporin eye drops (Ikervis)
  • idebenone (Raxone)

Pneumologies - ENT

  • Alpha-amylase (Maxilase or other)
  • ambroxol (Muxol or other)
  • Bromhexine (bisolvon)
  • Ephedrine (Rhino-sulphuryl)
  • Inhalation mannitol (Bronchitol)
  • Naphazoline (Derinox)
  • nintedanib (FOEN)
  • Oxomemazine (toplexil or other)
  • Oxymetazoline (Aturgil, Deturgylone, Pernazene)
  • Pentoxyverine (pectoral syrup Vicks 0,15%, pentoxyverine dry cough Clarix 0,15%)
  • Phenylephrine (Humoxal)
  • Pholcodine (Biocalyptol or other)
  • Pseudoephedrine (Rhinureflex, Rumagrip, and within the umbrella ranges Actifed, Dolirhume, Humex, Nurofen, Rhinadvil)
  • Roflumilast (Daxas)
  • Oral Tixocortol spray (combined with chlorhexidine in thiovalone or other)
  • Tuaminoheptane (Rhinofluimucil)
  • Xylometazolines (Otrivine)

Psychiatry - Addiction

  • Agomelatine (Valdoxan or other)
  • Citalopram (Seropram or other)
  • Dapoxetine (Priligy)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta or other)
  • Escitalopram (seroplex or other)
  • Etifoxine (stresam)
  • Milnacipran (Ixel or other)
  • tianeptineStablon or other)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor LP or other)

Stop smoking

  • Bupropion (Zyban)


  • Oral pentosane polysulfate (elmiron)

Source: https://www.prescrire.org/Fr/202/1832/55648/0/PositionDetails.aspx


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