Medication Side Effects


These days, many diseases can be
effectively alleviated or even cured by taking the appropriate medication. There
are drugs available which, for example, lower blood pressure, reduce blood
glucose or treat cancer. In the USA, patients are prescribed an average of 12
different drugs a year. Those over the age of 65 as many as 28. Since all drugs
can cause side effects, physicians individually weigh up the expected
benefits against the possible risks for every patient. Side effects can vary
greatly. They range from minor symptoms such as nausea, headaches or skin rashes
to more serious side effects like heart rhythm disorders or liver damage. In
worst cases, they can even be fatal. It is often impossible to predict whether side
effects will occur. They can be caused, for example, by individual genetic
factors. Interactions with other drugs or foodstuffs can also trigger side effects.
Unfortunately, side effects can never be completely ruled out. Fortunately, serious
side effects tend to be quite uncommon in most patients. In other words, more
people benefit from a therapy than suffer from serious side effects. In any
case, patients should be aware of the benefits and potential risks before
taking a drug. So always read the information leaflet to find out about
possible side effects and ask your doctor or pharmacist whenever needed.
When talking to a doctor, don’t forget to mention any other medicines you might be
taking. You should also consider whether other diseases have occurred in your
family’s history. And only take drugs that have been
prescribed for you personally. All approved drugs benefit from the fact
that data about their wanted and unwanted effects has been evaluated. Such
important data collection continues also after a drug has been introduced. This
information is incorporated into the information leaflet and helps you to
understand the benefits and the risks of taking the medicine. And again, don’t
forget to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and risks when a drug
is prescribed to you. If you have questions, you can find information on
the internet websites of health authorities or medicine regulators in
your country. The physician or pharmacist can also answer your questions. Don’t be
afraid to ask if you need more information. It’s important that you
understand why you are taking the medicines prescribed to you, how they
work and the risk of side effects.