It is a known and accepted fact that medicines help people get well and also help prevent disease. While medicines have proved to be indispensible in treating different conditions, there are still two sides to its use and it has the potential to cause not only beneficial results but negative effects as well. The risk associated with use of medication is that it can cause unwanted or unexpected effects. Some negative effects are experienced temporarily but there are some effects that could be quite serious and have a huge impact on one’s health.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a side effect is a secondary effect that is usually unwanted. All medications, regardless of its effectiveness and safety, can cause side effects. Anyone has the potential to experience the side effects of medicine and there is no way to tell if a certain medication will cause side effects and to whom it can cause side effects. The chance of experiencing side effects of medicine depends on numerous factors including the type of medicine taken, concurrent medications the individual is taking, the person’s age, weight, and if there are other preexisting health conditions.
Dangerous Side Effects of Medicine:
There are medicines that rarely cause side effects but there are also drugs such as those for treating cancer that cause side effects in almost all individuals. Some side effects are also minor in nature but there are also side effects that can cause serious damage and even life-threatening. Take antibiotics for example. Antibiotic side effects include soft stools and mild stomach upset but it can also cause allergic reactions, severe diarrhea, and fungal infection.
Statin is a medication for high cholesterol. Statin side effects are a cause of concern for most people because of the possible health implications. Muscle pain is among the most common statin side effects and it can range from mild to severe. In rare cases, statins can also cause rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition wherein there is damage to the muscle, liver, and kidneys.
Aspirin side effects can also be harmful especially if the medication is taken on a daily basis. In some cases, aspirin side effects warrant the need for immediate medical attention such as bleeding, loss of hearing, and bloody or black stools. Aspirin shouldn’t be given to children below 12 years of age as it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness that causes acute encephalopathy in children.
Weighing the Side Effects of Medicine Against Its Benefits:
Looking at the benefits of a medicine and weighing it against the possible risks can be useful when deciding if a medicine should be taken or not. In most cases, the benefits of taking the medicine are far more important than the minor side effects associated with the use of the drug. Some side effects also tend to go away once an individual has been taking the medicine regularly. Side effects can be bothersome but it is important to contact your doctor first before you decide to stop taking the medicine.
Preventing Side Effects of Medicine:
There are several ways to reduce the chances of experiencing side effects of medicine. The most important thing is to know general information about the medications you are taking regardless of whether it is a prescription or non-prescription drug. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if there are any side effects you should be concerned about while taking the medicine. Take the medicine as prescribed by the doctor and it can also help to take the medicine at a certain time like before or after a meal or before going to sleep depending on the information included in the package insert.
Your doctor should also be aware of preexisting health conditions as well as any known allergies to better decide which medicine should be given for your condition. Other medications currently taken should also be divulged to help avoid side effects from drug interaction.
Medicines are a wondrous invention and side effects will always be a part of its benefits. Keeping yourself informed and making sure that you communicate your concerns with your health care provider can help limit the unwanted effects of medicine.