Prescription medications treat our illnesses, lessen our suffering when we are hurt, and help us avoid or manage chronic disorders. However, even when they perform as intended, they may produce unwanted side effects.
If a medicine is crucial to controlling a medical condition, don’t let that cause you to instantly rule it out. But you also shouldn’t take unfavourable responses at face value.
Know What to anticipate
According to Jim Owen, a doctor of pharmacy and vice president of practise and science affairs at the American Pharmacists Association, side effects can occur with practically any medication. They frequently occur with everything from birth control pills to chemotherapy medications that treat cancer.
For instance, many prescription medicines travel through your digestive system and result in stomach issues including nausea, diarrhoea, or constipation.
Others, including blood pressure or diabetic medications, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants, may make you feel lightheaded. Some might give you a groggy, downcast, or agitated feeling. Some might result in weight gain. Also, some may interfere with your ability (or desire) to have sex or with sleeping.
Risk of Developing Side Effects
Each of us is special. However, some of us are more susceptible to experience adverse effects than others due to certain personal circumstances. Age is the most important of these variables. The extremely young and the extremely old are ALWAYS more prone to adverse effects.
Little adults are not children. Babies’ bodies process medications differently from adults’ bodies in terms of absorption, metabolism, and elimination. Younger children typically have a slower rate of stomach absorption of medication but a greater rate of intramuscular (IM) absorption. They have a greater liver to bodyweight ratio and a higher body water to lipid ratio in the early stages of life. Their kidney function is also immature, as are their liver enzymes.
Additionally, their blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that prevents drugs from passing from the bloodstream to the brain, has a higher permeability. Studies have found that older persons often use more medications and are twice as likely to visit the ED. This is due to a drug-related adverse event and seven times more likely to be hospitalised. They are more likely to be on drugs like warfarin, insulin, digoxin, and anti-seizure medications that have a razor-thin line between being beneficial and harmful.
Their bodies typically contain more fat and less water, which may lengthen the duration of some medications’ effects. Liver metabolism and kidney excretion are often slowed down. Additionally, due to the fact that their brains are more susceptible to the sedative effects of medications. Also, pre-existing conditions like dizziness, eye, and ear issues may be made worse, they are at an increased risk of falling.
Individual factors that also increase risk
The likelihood of side effects is significantly influenced by a number of additional factors. Examples that stand out include:
Genetics: The study of how your genes affect how you react to medications is known as pharmacogenetics, and genetic factors account for 20–95% of patient variability. Testing for differences in liver enzymes is becoming more common in this area of pharmacology, which is developing quickly.
For instance, the conversion of codeine to one of its active metabolites, morphine, requires metabolism through CYP2D6. In the 5–10% of patients who have poor metabolizers, very little codeine is metabolised to morphine, which leads to insufficient pain alleviation. A increased risk of toxic effects, such as respiratory depression, results from 1-2% of people having ultra-rapid metabolizers.
Kidney operation. If your kidneys aren’t working properly, taking medications that are excreted through the kidneys increases your risk of experiencing negative effects. When kidney function is compromised, some other medications may become less effective.
Gender: Compared to men, women have less activity of some hepatic enzymes, a higher body fat to water ratio, and less kidney clearance of medicines. According to studies, women are more likely than men to experience drug-induced liver damage, gastrointestinal side effects, allergic skin reactions, and long QT syndrome.
Ask for assistance
Tell your doctor about typical side effects when they prescribe a new medication. Together, you, your doctor, and your pharmacist should share information so that everyone is informed, advises Owen. You should be aware of the side effects that can be avoided, those that will go away on their own, and those that are significant.
Any unusual symptoms you experience after starting a medication should be discussed as soon as possible with your doctor or pharmacist. According to Liu, this includes changes in your sexual life, which many patients are ashamed of or frightened to discuss.
Your doctor may advise you to continue with your existing plan for a little while longer because some side effects fade with time as your body becomes adjusted to a new medication. In some circumstances, you might be able to reduce your dosage, try a different medication, or incorporate another into your regimen, such as an anti-nausea treatment.
Factors Related to Drugs
influences brought on by drugs include:
- Medication’s dosage: The danger of side effects increases with dosage.
- The phrase used is: For instance, compared to oral steroids, which have a more systemic effect, inhaled steroids target the lungs specifically and cause less side effects.
- How the medication is transported, metabolised, and removed
- Concurrent use of additional pharmaceuticals.
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