Category:Drug Side Effects

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Drug side effects are secondary effects that occur along with the intended actions of a medicine or supplement. Side effects occur with just about all drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as illegal substances.

Side effects may vary per individual, depending on the the type and status of the condition; age; size; race; sex; and overall health. The majority of side effects are benign; headaches and nausea are common adverse reactions. However, in some cases side effects can be serious. Some reactions, such as hives and swelling, may be caused by allergic reactions. Other side effects may be caused by mixing two or more medications that do not interact well with each other, like aspirin and blood thinners like warfarin.[1]

Side effects can be most noticeable when beginning or ending a specific course of treatment or altering dosage. Drug side effects may cause some patients to discontinue usage. Consumers may report side effects to the FDA by filling out a form available online or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088. Those with inquiries regarding side effects of specific medications can call 1-888-INFO-FDA.[2]

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Drug Side Effects
Annual volume 758,890 FDA reports (2010)[3]
Deaths 98,318 (2011)[4]
Serious Side Effects 573,111 (2011)[4]
Drug interactions May increase risk
Adults over 65 Experience more side effects[5]
Report side effects to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell
 
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Contents

About Drug Side Effects

Drug Side Effects

Common Drug Side Effects

A list of common drug side effects is provided with any prescription obtained from the pharmacy. The most common side effects listed for most drugs are nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, insomnia, heart problems and development of dependence.[6]

Drug packaging may contain instructions on managing some side effects. Some medications, for example, can bring on nausea when taken on an empty stomach. Patients can avoid nausea by taking them with food. Some drugs, like Seroquel®, can cause patients wo become lightheaded when standing up from a reclined position. This can be managed by getting up slowly.

Positive vs Negative Drug Side Effects

Drug side effects are unintended results of taking a particular medication or supplement. Side effects can be considered as having a positive or negative consequence. For example, antihistamines like Benadryl® (diphenhydramine) are intended to help alleviate allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. It also, however, can have the side effect of drowsiness. If a patient is having trouble sleeping, this is a positive side effect. In fact, diphenhydramine is used to treat insomnia, even when it is not needed for allergies. The same drug is also used to prevent motion sickness.[7] Sleep, however, may not be considered a positive during daytime hours.

Other drugs taken intentionally to produce a treatment that was once considered a side effect include finasteride, which was first introduced to treat enlarged prostates. Once it was discovered that the medication had a side effect of hair regrowth, it began to be prescribed to treat male pattern baldness. Today it is sold under the brand name Propecia®.[6]

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References

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/drugreactions.html
  2. http://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch/howtoreport/ucm053074.htm
  3. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Surveillance/AdverseDrugEffects/ucm070434.htm
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Surveillance/AdverseDrugEffects/ucm070461.htm
  5. http://www.healthinaging.org/medications-older-adults/
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/drug-side-effects-explained
  7. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682539.html

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