Dealing with Drug Side Effects

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

From painkillers to prescription medication, all drugs come with side effects. Some of the side effects are subtle, but others are downright dangerous. Usually, the gastrointestinal system is affected from a drug side effect. Virtually all medication can cause stomach cramps, ulcer or nausea. But other drugs can cause hives, skin irritation and other adverse effects.

Common Drugs Side Effects

Allergic Reaction

It’s safe to assume that almost all drugs could cause an allergic reaction. The effects may be subtle for others to tell, but there are cases wherein allergic reaction leads to anaphylactic shock. And some drugs that are meant to ease allergic reaction cause other side effects as well. For example, antihistamines like Benadryl can suppress the body’s ability to process acetylcholine. This is a chemical that cause dry mouth and drowsiness.

Internal Bleeding

Blood thinners like Coumadin and Jantoven are used to prevent blood clots. These drugs work by thinning out the blood, making it more fluid so red blood cells do not clump together inside the veins. But the most common side effect of these drugs is internal bleeding. This can be dangerous if you sustained an injury.

Drug Interactions

Mixing drugs with certain drinks is always dangerous. Sometimes, drug interactions lead to accidental overdose and the effects may be fatal. Grapefruit juice is known to disrupt the effects of hundreds of drugs, including medications for hypertension and cholesterol management. Alcohol should never be taken with painkillers because it can lead to accidental overdose.

Stomach Ache and Nausea

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs and Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs often cause a range of gastrointestinal discomforts such as nausea and stomach cramps. To reduce the effects of these drugs, try drinking the meds after eating. Also, limit your intake of these medications to once daily during the afternoon or evening instead of the morning on an empty stomach.

Stomach Ulcers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are notorious for triggering or for causing stomach ulcers. Apart from taking these meds after eating, choose NSAIDs that are made specifically for those with sensitive stomachs or those afflicted with stomach ulcers. You may also switch to COX-2, an NSAID drug that minimizes the risk of stomach ulcers. Finally, avoid drinking alcohol after drinking NSAID. The alcoholic beverage will boost the potency of the drug, causing gastric bleeding.


Corticosteroid drugs are known to cause insomnia or difficulty in sleeping. One way to neutralize the effects of these drugs is to avoid all types of stimulants right after taking your medication. That means no coffee, sodas or teas all day. Also, reduce your intake of corticosteroid drugs to just once daily in the morning.

Cotton Mouth or Mouth Dryness

Antidepressant drugs, painkillers, and analgesic medications may cause cotton mouth or mouth dryness. To reduce the likelihood of dry mouth, chew a sugarless gum or suck on ice chips. Chewing will promote the production of saliva. Avoid any types of mouthwashes that contain alcohol. These products will worsen the symptoms.

Mouth Ulcer

Methotrexate medications may cause painful oral lesions or mouth ulcer. Our advice is to avoid foods that may aggravate the symptoms such as spicy foods or sour foods. Apply a topical pain reliever on the affected area to soothe pain and inflammation. Finally, use a non-alcohol mouthwash to minimize gum irritation.

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