Medical professionals are required to report all adverse effects related to a specific form of therapy. However in practice, it is at the discretion of the professional to determine whether a medical event is at all related to the therapy.As a result, routine adverse effects reporting often may not include long-term and subtle effects that may ultimately be attributed to a therapy.
Find out as much about your medications as you can to learn how to take it properly. Ask the following questions and write down the answers before leaving the doctor’s office.
What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it? What is the name of the condition this medicine will treat? How long will it take to work? How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated? Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine?
Submit Your Side Effects
Drugs are composed of chemicals and we all react differently to them. If a drug has active ingredients, it has side effects and can interfere with normal body functions. Everybody's immune system functions a little differently. Some people's bodies react to certain chemicals while others do not. This could depend on gender, age, blood type, etc. Every single drug has side effects because once it enters the blood stream it passes through the body.
When physicians prescribe drugs, they must weigh the risks against the benefits. Many times, the risks and side effects are outweighed by the benefits of the drug. Most drugs aim to affect processes in a particular part of the body that may be functioning abnormally. In most cases, the targeted process often exists in many other parts of the body and so the drug will affect all areas, even in the non-target areas. Furthermore, all drugs are chemical compounds and too much of these can be damaging to our cells, which lead to generalised side effects as a result of tissue damage in certain regions.
Often side effects are due to the non-selective nature of a drug. New drugs are getting more targeted but even these still affect unwanted parts of the body. Experts say that side effects vary for each patient, and depend largely on their general health, the state of their disease, age, weight, and gender. Frequently drug side effects are closely linked to dosage, which may be altered. Other areas to watch for are drug-drug interactions (if the patient is taking two drugs), drug-food interactions (when a particular food alters what the drug should be doing) and drug-herb interactions.
It is very important to keep track of all side effects and discuss them with your doctor. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Most drugs have a long list of nonsevere, mild adverse effects which do not prevent continued usage. These side effects, which depend on individual sensitivity, can include nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, malaise, vomiting, headache, dermatitis, dry mouth, etc. Not all drug users experience these side effects and some users do not have them. Patients should be fully informed about side effects, track them and discuss with their doctors.
Include health symptoms (e.g.fatigue, sleeplessness, nausea, other); reason for taking medication or diagnosis; dosage and frequency; Outcomes Attributed to Side Effects (e.g. Life-threatening, Hospitalization - initial or prolonged, Disability or Permanent Damage, Congenital Anomaly/Birth Defect); Required Intervention to Prevent Permanent Damage, Important Medical Events; Relevant History and Preexisting Medical Conditions (e.g. allergies, race, pregnancy, smoking and alcohol use, liver/kidney problems,etc.)