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Why does medication cause side effects?​


"The way our bodies process medication often affects other parts of our system's inner-workings in addition to the medicine's original therapeutic target," says Cathy Salinas, R.Ph., Director of Pharmacy for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "This secondary effect, or 'side effect,' can vary for each individual depending on their age, weight, gender, ethnicity and general health.

"Interestingly, one person may experience troublesome side effects, while another, taking the same drug at the same dosage, may experience nothing more than the medicine's benefits," she says.

Salinas says that a rather mild, but typical, drug-induced side effect that many people experience is the drowsiness caused by the antihistamine in a cold remedy.

"People need to understand that many medications will deliver a secondary reaction," she says. "If the side effects become too severe, your doctor may adjust the dosage or prescribe a better tolerated medication.

"At Kelsey Pharmacy, our goal is to help the patient and physician find the most appropriate therapeutic medication with the fewest side effects," Salinas says. "Our pharmacists are patient-care professionals, dedicated to promoting the health of our customers, including the counseling needed for them to properly manage their medication's side effects."

Salinas advises everyone to be well-informed about the medication they take.

"For safety's sake, consult your pharmacist or health care provider before taking any medication," she concludes.​​​​