(Prescription) Drug
Side-Effects

(Prescription) Drug Side-Effects: Overview

Side-effects may occur following the use of certain drugs, as patients respond differently to medications depending on a variety of factors including age, overall health, gender, ethnicity, and the levels of severity of the illness or disease the patient is fighting. Side-effects may also occur as a result of taking a certain medication in combination with another drug or substance, whether it is a prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, herbal supplement, or food or drink.  Beginning treatment with a new medication, ceasing treatment, or adjusting a patient's dosage may also cause a patient to experience unwanted reactions to a medication.

Incidence

People over the age of 65 consume more than a third of all prescription medications in the United States... almost a quarter of older Americans are sent to hospitals or nursing homes because of problems with medications.  According to the California Pharmacists Association, more than 100,000 Americans die each year of adverse drug reactions.  The annual bill for treating medication misuse is a stunning $177 billion.  [MSNBC, January 2002]

Treatment and Prevention

Become an expert on what ails you – do your own research.  The phrase "Ask your doctor" is a favorite in ads for pharmaceuticals, but the fact is that no doctor knows everything.
  • Find out as much as you can about your medications.  Thousands die each year from medication errors.  Know what you're taking, what the name is, what the strength is and what it's for.
  • After taking new medications, watch for new symptoms that could be side-effects.
  • Bring all of your medicines to the doctor with you – even over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies – so that your doctor can see everything you are taking and possibly detect conflicts.
  • Be on your guard, even in the hospital.  Every time a drug is about to be administered, even intravenously, ask what it is.

Drug Side-Effects

Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of (Prescription) Drug Side-Effects:

Lab Values - Cells

Low lymphocyte count may be a sign or symptom of (Prescription) Drug Side-Effects(Highly) elevated lymphocyte count or low lymphocyte count
Certain drugs, such as mephenytoin, dilantin and para-aminosalicylic acid, can cause an increased lymphocyte count.

Symptoms - Abdomen

Occasional slight bloating may be a sign or symptom of (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsConstant/occasional significant bloating or constant/occasional slight bloating
Certain medications, including those containing lactulose or sorbitol, may cause bloating.

Symptoms - Metabolic

Often/always feeling unusually cold may be a sign or symptom of (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsOccasionally/regularly/often/always feeling unusually cold
Certain medications – such as those prescribed for hypertension, angina, or migraine – can cause feelings of being cold because beta blockers may reduce the circulation in the extremities while increasing blood circulation to the heart.

Symptoms - Nails

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

No blood in nipple discharge is often a sign or symptom of (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsNo blood in nipple discharge
Some medications can cause non-bloody nipple discharge.  The most common culprits are cimetidine (for stomach problems), oral contraceptives, some antidepressant and other drugs for psychological problems, and domperidone (for nausea).  Even if you have not noticed any blood, your doctor may ask you to try to squeeze a few drops out, and will test it for microscopic blood.

Conditions that suggest (Prescription) Drug Side-Effects:

Dental

Infections

Yeast / Candida Infection often suggests (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsYeast / Candida Infection
Steroid hormones, immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory drugs, ulcer medications or acid blockers used for prolonged periods can all cause yeast overgrowth.

Lab Values

Elevated Bilirubin Levels may suggest (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsElevated Bilirubin Levels
Certain medicines can damage the liver.  Examples include many antibiotics, some types of birth control pill (sex hormones), antipsychotic drugs, and many others.
Neutrophilia may suggest (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsNeutrophilia
Certain medications such as corticosteroids or lithium carbonate can cause neutrophilia.

Mental

Dizziness often suggests (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsDizziness
Almost all medications list dizziness as a possible side-effect.  Examples include blood pressure medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, pain relievers, some antibiotics.  Diuretics cause dehydration, blood electrolyte changes, heart effects and/or direct side-effects.
Senile Dementia may suggest (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsSenile Dementia
Drug poisoning can cause senile dementia.

Metabolic

Cluster Headaches may suggest (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsCluster Headaches
It is believed that there may be a link between cluster headaches and some medications such as nitroglycerin (used to treat heart disease.)

Skin-Hair-Nails

Risk factors for (Prescription) Drug Side-Effects:

Lab Values - Hormones

Having very low melatonin levels may increase risk of (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsHaving/having very low melatonin levels or having elevated melatonin levels
Some drugs, including NSAIDs, beta-blockers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, steroids, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers, can deplete melatonin levels.

Recommendations for (Prescription) Drug Side-Effects:

Drug

Mineral

MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) often helps with (Prescription) Drug Side-EffectsMSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)
Patients demonstrating drug hypersensitivity to aspirin, several nonsterioid antiarthritic agents (Naprosin, Indocin, Motrin), and oral antibiotics, became drug-tolerant when MSM was given within an hour of or concurrently with the sensitizing drug.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests
Moderately useful: often helps with
Moderately useful:
often helps with