Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects continue to bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
- Call your doctor or 911 right away or go to the emergency room if you take a medicine and have trouble breathing, get Reference hives Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, or have swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. These are signs of an Reference allergic reaction Opens New Window to the medicine.
Will you get side effects?
Anyone can feel side effects from a medicine, but there is no way to know for sure if a medicine will cause side effects for you. It may depend on how much of the medicine you take, how old you are, how much you weigh, whether you are male or female, and what other health problems you may have. Older adults are more likely to have side effects than younger adults.
You may notice side effects when you start to take a medicine, change the dose, or stop using the medicine. A medicine you've often taken without getting side effects may suddenly cause side effects. Or side effects may stop.
What can you do to prevent side effects?
There are many things you can do to prevent and prepare for side effects. Before you take any medicine, talk to your doctor or Reference pharmacist Opens New Window about:
- The possible side effects of the medicine and those you may be likely to have.
- How soon they may start.
- Whether they may go away on their own.
- Whether you can do anything to prevent them. For example, taking a medicine with food or at a certain time of day may help with this.
- Whether you need any tests to check for them.
- What you can do to manage mild side effects.
- When and who you should call for help with side effects.
- Whether you can drink alcohol when you are taking the medicine.
What can you do for mild side effects?
In general, you can ask your doctor if you can take less of the medicine or try another one.
Here are some tips to help you manage some common side effects from medicines.
What to know or do
|Loss of appetite||
|Upset stomach (nausea)||
|Feeling nervous or on edge||
|Sensitive to the sun||
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy