Avoiding Side Effects of Medication

Every medication has side effects associated with it. However, not every person will experience these side effects, which range in severity from nausea, headache, and dizziness to heart palpitations, and liver damage. These effects can happen when you start a new medication, decrease or increase the dose, or stop taking it entirely.

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Make sure your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all the medications you’re taking as some combinations can cause side effects.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to avoiding drug side effects:

  • Drug side effects are not always avoidable, but you can decrease your chances of experiencing them by taking your medication exactly as indicated by your doctor and the label on your bottle.
  • Talk to your doctor and pharmacist ahead of taking a new drug to find out what the possible side effects are, so you know what to look out for. The pharmacist should also provide you with a printout of side effect information related to your drug.
  • If you believe you are experiencing a drug side effect, do not discontinue your drug. Contact your doctor immediately, so he or she can decide whether to change your dose or switch you to a new medication.
  • If your side effects are severe, like labored breathing or intense stomach pain, call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room.

For more information on drug safety, use the Vitals Doctor Finder (www.vitals.com) to find a highly-rated doctor near you.

Source: drugs.about.com