Drug Side Effects
Most of us take prescription drugs — drugs that, by law, must be prescribed by a doctor — at some point in our lives. If all goes well, the drug works for you as it’s supposed to. But there’s no “magic bullet,” or drug that works the same for everyone without any risks or side effects. A side effect is basically an unintended occurrence that results from taking a drug. Side effects can be good or bad, depending on how you use the drug.
For example, antihistamines, used to help with allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and sneezing, have the side effect of making you feel very sleepy.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, this side effect is great. If you need to deal with your allergies as well as drive your car or function at your job, however, it’s bad.
When you pick up a prescription at a pharmacy, you get a list of common side effects. Regardless of the drug, the most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, drowsiness, insomnia, heart problems (such as heart palpitations) and dependence. Often, there’s something
that you can do to help lessen the possibility of unwanted side effects. Some medications can make you feel nauseated if you take them on an empty stomach, for example, so it’s a pretty simple fix to eat something.
There are some prescription drugs, though, that can cause side effects that are wildly different from those listed above. In some cases, the side effects were discovered during FDA trials and were deemed acceptable risks.
In others, the side effects turned out to be catastrophic but weren’t well-known until after the drug was widely used.
Let’s start off with a weird side effect that falls under the former category — you may (or may not) remember it.
Side Effects of Childhood Medications
Parents and pediatricians are becoming much more aware these days of the possible side effects of the medications that kids are being prescribed.
Some high-profile reports about possible drug side effects have likely helped to get everyone’s attention in recent years, including:
• Singulair (montelukast) and a possible association with behavior/mood changes, suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) and suicide
• over-the-counter cough and cold medicines and the FDA alert that the risks of taking them may outweigh the benefits for children under age 2
• Tami flu (oseltamivir) and a variety of neurological and behavioral symptoms, including hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior
• antidepressants and the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior (“suicidality”) in children and adolescents being treated with antidepressant medications
• Accutane (isotretinoin) and the possible risk of birth defects and psychiatric effects (e.g., suicide ideation and suicide).
Although it is good to be aware of all possible risks when your child is being prescribed a medication, it can also sometimes work to limit a child’s access to a medication that would have really helped him and in which the benefits would have outweighed the possible risks.
This is especially common when a parent doesn’t want to treat their children with preventative steroid medications when they have asthma, because they are worried about the possible side effects of inhaled steroids.
All medications can have side effects.
To highlight that point, some people say that if you read about all of the possible side effects of commonly used over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol or Motrin, then you would likely never take them.
Among the most common side effects of medications are:
• skin rashes
• abdominal pain
• weight gain
• allergic reactions
The important thing to remember is that these side effects usually only occur in a small percentage of children, so there is a good chance your child won’t have any side effects when taking any specific medicine. Also, almost all drug side effects are temporary and go away once you stop the medicine or switch to a different medicine.
Drug Side Effects
In addition to the general drug side effects listed above, which can occur with almost any medicine, there are some side effects that are more commonly seen with specific medications.
Herbal medicine which does not have any side effect on body.
Herbs can be a great supplement used in conjunction with orthodox medical treatment.
Herbal Therapy is an extremely valuable support, and, in many cases, alternative to ‘orthodox’ medicine. The value in herbal medic
ine lies in its abilities to heal and aid the human body. Herbal medicine can support the human body while working to heal ailments, usually without side effects. In cases of using herbal therapy as an adjunct to orthodox medicine, herbs can serve to relieve any side effects caused by pharmaceuticals and nurture the body back to health.