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Side Effects

What are side effects?

Side effects, also called adverse reactions, are undesirable and unwanted effects that result from a medication or treatment. They occur when the treatment does more than treat the intended issue.

Treatments that cause side effects can include over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, vitamin supplements, or alternative, complementary, and herbal therapies.

In most cases, side effects are mild, with some common side effects including:

  • dry mouth
  • stomachache
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • skin rash
  • drowsiness
  • insomnia

Side effects typically go away once the medication or treatment causing them has been discontinued. However, some side effects are more serious and require medical interventions.

The severity of side effects can vary by individual, with factors such as disease state, general health, weight, age, and gender influencing the side effects that appear and how severe they are.

Why is it important to know about side effects?

Knowing about the possible side effects of a drug or treatment is vital for determining if the potential harm outweighs the potential benefits. For a medication to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug manufacturer must list all known adverse effects.

Side effects are also crucial for those with other diseases or health conditions to be aware of, as in some cases, other health conditions can result in more serious outcomes if side effects occur.