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Mission Arthritis India
Mission Arthritis India
Health Education
Questions & Answers
What are the side-effects of medicines?

           Every medicine with good effect has some degree of side-effects or toxicity. Medical science hopes to take advantage of the dominant good effects of every drug in clinical use.

           Most of the times, side effects are minimal or not visible either clinically or by investigations. Also the body has the capacity to overcome minor side effects. Except for allergy which usually manifests with the first dose, majority of the side-effects depend on dose and the duration of the drug use.

           An experienced and knowledgeable doctor can ensure that the patient does not suffer from side –effects by advising certain precautions like timing of the drug and consuming plenty of fluids. The doctor can also teach the patient to recognize the early signs of side-effects. All patients on long term therapy must be regularly seen by their family doctor and specialist in certain cases. Patients should never take potent medicines without expert medical supervision especially when suffering from chronic arthritis.

           All analgesics or pain killer medicines can affect the stomach and kidney when taken in high dose or over prolonged periods. Even stomach ulcers can be caused. Cortisones or steroids if used without caution can cause numerous side effects, for example increased body weight, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, easy fractures of bones etc. Highly potent anti-arthritis medicines for example gold salts, methotrexate, etc need regular monitoring for their effect on blood, liver, kidney and skin.

           To repeat, every drug is like fire. Fire has many good uses but can also burn. While starting treatment, the benefits of every drug must outweigh its likely side-effects. A certain amount of risk has to be accepted because the disease if not treated may lead to severe complications. Patients must trust their doctors and doctors must closely monitor patients taking drugs over prolonged periods. Side-effects when detected early can be properly treated without leaving any residual damage.

           It is reassuring to know that science is constantly improving the safety profile of drugs. When indicated, patients must take their medicines without fear, but exercise caution as advised by doctors.

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