There are many kinds of bad
reactions (adverse reactions) to medicine.
Side effects. A side effect is any effect other than the one you want. They tend to be mild, but they can
still bother you. In some cases, side effects can be serious.
Allergies. Some people have strong reactions to
some medicines. These reactions can be deadly. To learn the signs of an
allergic reaction, see the topic
Medicine interactions. These happen when two or more medicines
or herbal supplements mix in a person's body and cause a bad reaction. The
symptoms can be severe and may be wrongly diagnosed as a new illness.
Medicine-food interactions. These happen when
medicines react with food. Some drugs work best when you take them with food,
but others should be taken on an empty stomach. Some medicine-food interactions
can cause serious symptoms.
If you take too much of a medicine, it may trigger an adverse reaction. This can especially be a problem for people of small size and older adults. Sometimes the typical adult dose is too much for these people. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
Long-term use of some medicines can lead to dependency. You may have a severe
reaction if you stop taking the medicine all at once. Find out from your doctor if a medicine may be addictive. To learn more,
see the topic
Alcohol and Drug Problems.
Decision Points are designed to guide you through key
health decisions, combining medical information with your personal information
to make a wise health decision. For help in learning the pros and cons of certain medicines, see a list of Decision Points About Medicines.