Medication side effects aren’t always what, or when, we expect. | MOBE

Medication side effects aren’t always what, or when, we expect.

When you start to take any medication, either over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription, you are probably thinking about potential side effects or long-term risks the medication could cause. If you experience an adverse reaction, you’d most likely stop taking the medicine and look for other solutions. That’s why you probably wouldn’t expect a new side effect or adverse reaction to a medicine you’ve taken for years.

It turns out that many medicines can have long-term risks or delayed side effects. Knowing more about this may help you to understand when to consider your meds as the cause of an unexplained symptom.

When your health changes but your meds stay the same.

Medications work in many ways, usually by changing, boosting, or blocking functions our body can do on its own but may need some help with. Your age, lifestyle choices, and current health can change how your body reacts to your medications. In some cases, side effects from a medication you’ve always tolerated can appear suddenly.

So whether you just started a medication or have been using it for years, how a medication makes you feel can change. If you experience the sudden onset of a symptom, such as headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, or other unusual symptoms that can’t be easily explained, you may want to consider the possibility that it’s being caused by one of your medications.

One of the things you can try is to pay close attention to when the symptoms occur. Make note of the timing and how it relates to when you take your medications. Also be aware of foods you recently ate, exercise, or other activities that could play a role in your reaction.

When a long-term treatment raises a concern.

Many common medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, are intended to treat an issue until it is resolved and then can usually be stopped. Some medicines, however, may become long-term solutions to managing chronic conditions. Many chronic conditions are safely managed with medicine, but some types of medications can increase your risk for long-term side effects, even after normal use.

Sometimes it’s not just an individual medication that causes concern but combining with other prescription and OTC meds that can cause a response.

If the need for a medication is long-term, or you use multiple meds to support your health, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor or your MOBE Pharmacist about the risks and whether there are lower-risk alternatives.

Get in the habit of managing your medications.

Whether you take OTC, prescription medicines, or herbal products there are a few things you can do to help manage your medications to make sure they are safe, effective, and help you meet your health goals.

  • Keep a list of all the medications you take, including prescriptions, OTC, herbal medicines, and supplements—pills, liquids, patches, creams, or lotions. Having an accurate and up-to-date medication list can help your doctor or pharmacist determine if a medicine is causing a side effect or the reason for a new symptom you are experiencing.
  • Make sure all your health care providers are aware of your entire medication list. Making decisions about starting or stopping a new medication for one reason can be impacted by everything else you are being treated for.
  • Talk to your doctor at least once a year about all the medications they prescribe for you to make sure they are safe, still needed, and being taken in the way needed to help you.
  • Be careful about making changes to your medication routine without talking to your health care provider. Some medications can cause negative reactions when stopped abruptly, and your doctor can help you slowly taper off or switch to a new treatment if necessary.
  • If you have access to a resource like a MOBE Pharmacist, take advantage of it! A MOBE Pharmacist can help you review all your medications and help you determine whether they are the best choice to help you reach your health and happiness goals.

A licensed MOBE Pharmacist can help you minimize risks and make the most of your medications—including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbals, and supplements. Get started today.