Side effects: Medication, types of effect, cancer treatment

Side effects happen when a treatment causes a problem because it does more than treat the target issue. The impact can range from minor to severe and life-threatening.

A side effect can, theoretically, be positive. For example, laser treatment for cataracts sometimes improves a person’s eyesight.

An adverse effect, or adverse event, means an unwanted side effect.

The treatment may be a medication, surgical procedure, or other kind of intervention, including complementary and alternative therapies.

Adverse effects can vary for each patient, depending on their general health, the state of their disease, age, weight, and gender. They can be mild, moderate, or severe.

What are side effects?

[Side Effects of Pills]
Always check the potential adverse effects on the label of any medications.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) define an adverse effect as “an unexpected medical problem that happens during treatment with a drug or other therapy.”

Unwanted effects can result from a physician’s advice and from medications or treatments, including complementary and alternative therapies. They can lead to complications.

Reports from clinical trials describe adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs). SAEs include death, birth defects, complications that require hospitalization, or permanent damage.

[Drug side effects]
Not all side effects are bad, but adverse effects can occur with some medication.

The other substance may increase or reduce the effect of a drug. Sometimes it may cause a completely different action to occur.

Drug-drug interactions happen when two drugs interact. For example, aspirin and warfarin are both blood thinners. Together, they increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.

Drug-food interactions occur when a food alters what the drug should be doing. For example, statins reduce cholesterol levels, but eating high-fat foods will increase them.

Drug-herb interactions can also happen, for example, using antidepressant medication with St. John’s Wort can provoke a hyperactive mood in a person with bipolar disorder.

OTC preparations, such as aspirin, can trigger drug interactions. It is important to tell a health care professional which drugs you are already taking, including supplements and OTC drugs, at the time of getting a new medication.

In countries where a wide range of drugs can be bought without prescriptions, the risk of drug-drug interactions is greater.

It is important to note that adverse effects from drugs can vary widely, from mild nausea to death. Different drugs have different effects.

Types of effect

Some common examples mild adverse effects related to drugs include:


Skin rash or dermatitis




Dry mouth




Examples of more serious effects include:

Suicidal thoughts

Abnormal heart rhythms

Internal bleeding


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