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Side Effects And How To Deal With Them

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While taking any medication, you may experience changes in your behavior or the way you feel. These reactions are known as "adverse reactions" or "side effects."

Adverse reactions should be reported to the doctor who prescribed the drug or who is administering a treatment,  or to your primary care doctor.

  • The drug or treatment or dosage may need to be adjusted. If a side effect cannot be eliminated by adjusting a treatment or dosage, it can generally be treated by another drug or other treatment.
  • Ask your doctor:
    • If the side effects are normal.
    • If a decrease in dosage would help. An overdose may be the cause of your symptoms. To learn more, see Overdose.
    • Would you be able to tolerate the drug better if you took it in a different form. To learn more, see Compounding.
    • Whether there is a clinical trial investigating how to reduce toxicity and side effects.

It is not advisable to stop taking a drug without consulting your doctor unless it's an emergency. In some cases, stopping taking a drug may cause even worse problems. Your doctor can determine whether the drug in question is causing the symptoms, and can take the appropriate action such as decreasing dosage or substituting another drug.

It may also be helpful to discuss side effects with your pharmacist. She or he may have ideas your doctor didn't think of. A pharmacist's advice is free.

Common side effects to watch for include (with links to information about what to do about them):

Your doctor may also tell you about other side effects to watch for because of your health condition, treatment or drugs. For example, with chemotherapy, hair loss is a common side effect.


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