What are Side Effects?

Medications often have side effects.
Topical medications may include dry, irritated skin as a side effect.
It is important to learn about the side effects associated with different prescription medications.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Side effects are potential conditions that may result from taking various medications, having vaccinations, or having different types of treatments like chemotherapy. Each medication, whether swallowed or injected has its own list of side effects. Further some medications have side effects, which may occur when used in conjunction with other medical treatment or if certain other conditions are present. The degree to which a person is likely to develop side effects is based on studies on medical treatments, which show the rate or percentage of people who developed them.

It’s important to understand that while most medications have a veritable laundry list of side effects, these tend to be rarely experienced, experienced for a short period of time, or not ever experienced by people who use the medications. Yet now the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all medicines to list all possible side effects, contraindications, and possible conflicts if other conditions are present or if a person takes other medications. You’ll note in magazine advertisements for drugs that there is extensive information about side effects, and even on television, you’ll hear a side effect list at the end of each ad, and even some contraindications; for example, women over 35 who smoke are advised not to use hormonal birth control.

Ad

The side effect list can seem daunting to someone who needs to make a decision about whether a certain drug treatment is right for them. You may need to do some research to find out how likely any of these effects are to occur, which is usually based on percentage. However, it’s also important to understand that risk of any particular side effect may be outweighed by the benefit of taking a medication. For instance, a side effect of the bipolar and seizure medication Tegretol® (carbamazepine) is hair loss, which is pretty commonly experienced by people who take the medication. Yet, if Tegretol® effectively treats your bipolar condition, it is often worth the hair loss to obtain this treatment.

You may see, in drug advertisements, different side effect sets. For example people may experience mild, serious or severe types of effects from drugs. In rare cases, some people have allergic reactions to medications or life threatening reactions that need to be listed so people can be alert to any potential warning signs of dangerous conditions emerging. In any prescription you obtain, you’re likely to be given information on a separate paper, which explains all the potential mild, moderate, severe or life-threatening hazards that you may encounter. Again, realize that these effects, especially those that are life threatening occur with great infrequency. If they occurred often enough to cause multiple deaths or severe medical damage, the FDA would weigh the benefits of keeping these medications available, and would likely remove the drugs from the market pending further investigation.

Ad

Discuss this Article

anon136676
Post 7

what is the side effect of coumadin?

anon88789
Post 6

I used ApCdrVin for health maintenance, but chose to swish it in my mount to help pre-digest it. My tooth enamel was thin from excessive brushing, and on my next dr visit, I had four to six small cavities. The acid in ACV had done it. Now I only take ACV with olive oil as a topping on my food.

Relative to health and age, ACV may begin cleansing reactions in your body, so go easy at first and take it quickly (like a shot) or with other things.

anon61073
Post 4

Sulfa gives me headaches. The senna did too.

anon58181
Post 3

Yes, the side effects include a need to hold your nose.

rizi
Post 2

any side effect for apple cider vinegar?

sputnik
Post 1

One side effect that I know of is reaction that some people have to Sulfa drugs. These drugs are not used much in United States any more, they have been replaced by antibiotics and other medication.

But when they were used, one of the side effects for some, was severe blotchy rash over the body. Of course once that fact is known, that medication can not be taken any more.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email