We’re all at risk from scary medicine side effects, but we have to weigh the risks with the benefits

We’re all at risk from scary medicine side effects, but we have to weigh the risks with the benefits

How are the risks of taking medicine determined? Greg Kyle, Professor of Pharmacy, Queensland University of Technology explains: theconversation.com/were-al...

Some highlights:

How are side effects determined?

The list of side effects on the product information inside your medicine boxes is determined during clinical trials. So bravo to our many members in clinical trials that are helping protect those of us who follow their brave footsteps.

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When are warnings warranted?

To determine if an effect is caused by a drug, the pharmacovigilance experts at the TGA (Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration - our equivalent of the USA's FDA - Neil) need to filter the “signal” (drug-caused) effects out from the “noise” (same effect occurring in the population without the drug).

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Patients should be empowered and encouraged to ask questions and discuss risks and benefits with their health-care professionals, about a range of issues, not just medication.

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Yes, some side effects can be scary, but put in the context of the good medicines can do, judgement calls need to be made. People make risk-benefit decisions throughout daily life, such as crossing the road, driving a car and other dangerous daily tasks.

Medical decisions are no different, but people feel less empowered because a product is recommended by an “expert” or they do not have sufficient knowledge to make an informed decision. This is why it’s important for patients to empower themselves by asking questions and making all decisions shared.

Neil

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