Read the fine print

Little things like reading the pamphlets that come with your medicine can save you from fatal side-effects

When side-effects of medicines are particularly unpleasant, or even dangerous, we call them adverse drug reactions [ADR].

If you examine the ADR disclosures that come with the medicines you have purchased, you may get the shock of your life. Common antibiotics can have as serious an effect as a dangerously reduced red blood cell count. Some blood pressure medications affect your kidneys. Frequent use of painkillers damages your liver and kidneys. Visual impairment and muscle degeneration are reactions of some other drugs.

Here is what you can do to minimise the risk of ADR:

Choose your doctor with care

Some doctors are eager to dispense off their patients with a quick-fix cure, while others are more cautious in their prescriptions. Very few doctors have the time to be updated on all the fine print that accompanies the drugs that medical representatives offer them. Only make a trustworthy doctor your family physician.

Share it all with your doctor

Discuss your medical history with your doctor before he prescribes any medication. He must be fully aware of your diet patterns, genetics and lifestyle; all these factors impact your risk evaluation.

Never pop pills on your own

Popping pills for short-term relief is downright dangerous. Resist the temptation to take a painkiller or antacid just about anytime. You might not realise how these simple medicines could react with other medications you may be taking or with your body and cause unpleasant reactions. It could even trigger some more severe infections or health complications.

Buy medicines from safe sources

With so many medical shops now available, it becomes easier to buy medicines from just about anywhere. But doctors recommend you must buy medicines only from trustworthy sources. Some shops do not clear the expired drugs and give it away to unsuspecting customers. Consumption of such drugs is extremely dangerous and can have drastic effects.

Read medicine pamphlets carefully

All prescribed medicines come with a pamphlet that lists information about the drug such as the indications, right dosage, who shouldn’t take the drug and signs of ADR. Read the pamphlet carefully and report to the doctor immediately in case you experience any of the mentioned symptoms.

Be natural

Instead of popping a pill for every little ailment, first try some simple home remedies to cure them [only for minor health complications]. These remedies may not cure you but they will at least give you temporary relief till you can consult a specialist. Also, the reactions these remedies have on your body will also be much less severe in comparison to drugs. You can also try natural healing techniques like Reiki, Emotional Freedom Techniques [EFT], or energy healing.

Symptoms of ADR

The milder and more common side-effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of appetite.

More serious ADR can range from mild to severe damage to critical organs such as your heart, kidney, liver or even brain [particularly in elderly patients].

Sangeeta Bhagwat
Sangeeta Bhagwat facilitates inner work and transformation in groups and individuals by playing the role of a facilitator, holistic healer, life coach or author. She has written four books on healing and self-empowerment.


  1. It is a very good eye opening article. Could some suggestions be given for home remedies to control acidity? Thanks.


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