People joke about the cure being worse than the disease. But some people aren't laughing.
One large study found that more than 2 million hospitalized people a year have adverse drug reactions. The study also found that these reactions were among the top six causes of death in the middle 1990s in the United States.
According to the Higuchi Biosciences Center and the Drug Information Center at Kansas University, older people and young children are particularly susceptible to adverse reactions. These groups are often excluded from drug trails. Seniors also may take several drugs every day, increasing the chance of an adverse reaction.
The signs of an adverse response can include skin rash, easy bruising, bleeding, severe nausea, diarrhea, constipation, confusion and breathing difficulties.
If you contact your doctor or pharmacist about a possible adverse reaction, be ready to say when you started taking the medication, the dosage and the frequency; when the reaction began; whether you're still experiencing it; and what other medications you're still taking.
Herbals, vitamins and health food products also cause adverse reactions.
Knowing all this, you might ask your doctor or pharmacist the side effects of any medicine you're prescribed before you take the first dose.