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Published On: Wed, Nov 23rd, 2016

Medication Side Effects Hospitalize Millions of People Each Year: What You Need to Know Today

Prescription medications have, over the years, no doubt saved many lives as well as improved the quality of life experienced by millions of people. However, something that doesn’t seem to get talked about enough, even though we see numerous reports of individual issues each year, is the potential side effects of drugs.

While many of the problems that can arise from taking prescription medicines are fairly minor, and are worth it when compared to the benefits received from the pills, some effects can cause incredible harm, long-term issues, and even death. In addition, deaths caused by overdoses of prescription medications have been rising rapidly over recent years and doesn’t seem likely to fall anytime soon. Furthermore, research alarmingly shows that new prescription drugs have a one in five chance of causing serious reactions after they have been approved for sale.

You want to protect yourself and your family from harm when it comes to potential medication side effects.  One serious case seen by some patients taking Dilantin, have had quite a few life threatening side effects with this medication. It is important that you are aware of some of the most common dangers, as well as some of the tips you can follow to try and stay safe. Read on for the rundown today.

Common Negative Effects Caused by Medications

Negative effects that occur due to medications range in severity from mild symptoms through to death. On the mild side of the scale, you’ll find issues such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, fevers, drowsiness, skin reactions, constipation, diarrhea, a runny nose, and more.

Some of these less severe symptoms can actually lead to grave consequences too though. For instance, dizziness can cause people to fall and break bones (particularly the elderly), while nausea and vomiting can lead to a cascade of medical problems like internal bleeding, dehydration, and oesophageal rupture, which in turn can potentially be fatal in elderly patients or those who have a weakened system already.

Some prescription medications have been known to cause death due to fatal heart attacks, strokes, cancer, severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic response), and even suicide. Some people have developed heart conditions and/or lifelong heart damage due to a bad reaction from prescription drugs too.

photo Emuishere Pelicula via Flickr

photo Emuishere Pelicula via Flickr

In addition, physical debilitation has occurred in patients who have experienced total or partial paralysis, severe pain, and decreased control over bodily functions. Other severe issues that some people have had to cope with due to medical side effects are amnesia, hallucinations, and loss of the sense of taste or of sight.

It is important to note that negative effects from medication can vary considerably from person to person, and depends on a variety of factors. These include the dosage taken, as well as the person’s age, weight, disease type, gender, ethnicity, and overall health status.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family

The first thing you should do when you or your family members are prescribed medications by a physician is to talk to the doctor about it. Ask them to go through the list of potential side effects with you, and the likely symptoms that could first appear if there is a bad reaction to the drug. Also ask them if there are any steps which can be taken to reduce the risk of such effects from occurring, such as taking the medication with food or at a certain time of day.

You should also talk to your doctor about your or your loved one’s specific health history and lifestyle to work out if there are any known allergies which could be an issue, or other medical factors that could cause a problem.  Make sure the doctor knows about any other medication (both prescribed and herbal) currently being taken too, as drugs can interact in a bad way.

When you go to pick up your script at the pharmacy for the first time, it pays to ask the pharmacist if they know of any particular foods or other drugs that could be dangerous to take with, or after, the new medication. Also quiz them about what might happen if the person taking the drug misses a dose or accidently overdoses on it.

It is also a good idea to check that the drug you received treats the health issue you or your loved one has been having — this is a good way to ensure that the doctor or nurse who made up the script has not made an error, and that the pharmacist has read the prescription correctly too. If in a hospital or other health care facility, it is also worth asking what a pill is before taking it, and in what does it is being administered, to ensure that the wrong medication is not accidentally ingested.

Author: Cher Zevala

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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