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Drug side effects are different from allergic reactions secondary to drugs in that the mechanism of action of a drug side effect is often not allergic or immune system-mediated but is related to the direct action of the drug on a body system which is untoward and not part of the healing process. Drug side effects may be idiosyncratic and occur in some people but not others. There can also be side effects which are natural to the medication that occur to some degree in every person who takes it. Pharmaceutical manufacturers try to limit the amount of side effects in every drug they put out and do studies just to determine what the most common side effects are.

It is the responsibility of the doctor and, to some degree, the pharmacist to tell you the most common drug side effects of a drug you will be taken. Often the pharmacy will send home a sheet along with the medication in order to tell you the most common side effects possible. You should read these things carefully in order to be prepared about possible drug side effects you may have.

Some side effects are dose related. The higher the dose you take, the more likely is the risk of a drug side effect. In rare cases, the side effect occurs at a higher rate in low doses than in high doses. Any medication can have a side effect which might be connected to its mechanism of action and which might be unrelated to its mechanism of action. For example, taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol have a side effect unrelated to cholesterol lowering. These medications can cause aching of the legs due to an unknown mechanism.

Side effects can relate to the ethnicity of a person, the overall health, the gender and the age of the person. There are drug side effects that are more common in children which do not have an effect on the adult. There are medications that only have side effects in women. This can relate to the different hormonal milieu of women as compared to men.

Some side effects only occur when you are taking a medication in conjunction with another medication. This is why you should tell your doctor and pharmacist about all other medications you are taking, including over the counter medication and herbal medication. Stopping a medication can lead to side effects related to the remaining medications you are taking.

Some common side effects of medication include nausea, stomach upset and vomiting. This is common with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication and aspirin medications. These medications decrease the stomach's ability to protect itself from acid and you get an acidic stomach and resultant secondary side effects. It is a good idea to take these medications with food so that the stomach upset is less. There are other medications that, for similar reasons, are best taken with food. Taking a medication with food reduces its rush into the bloodstream so that things like dizziness are kept in check.

Dizziness is a common drug side effect, especially with blood pressure medications and other medications that have lowering of the blood pressure as a side effect. The dizziness can be felt as a vertigo sensation or as a light headed feeling. Headache is too a side effect which seems to be common with many medications.

Doctors compare side effects with the taking of a placebo to get an accurate picture of whether or not a medication really has a side effect or if the "side effect" is related to the placebo effect. In this type of study, the doctors and the patients are unaware of the actual medication the patient is taking so as not to taint the results of the study. This is how the true drug side effects can be determined.

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Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Drug Side Effects solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Drug Side Effects solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here