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Side effect

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In medicine, a side effect is an effect, whether therapeutic or adverse, that is secondary to the one intended; although the term is predominantly employed to describe adverse effects, it can also apply to beneficial, but unintended, consequences of the use of a drug.

Occasionally, drugs are prescribed or procedures performed specifically for their side effects; in that case, said side effect ceases to be a side effect, and is now an intended effect. For instance, X-rays were historically (and are currently) used as an imaging technique; the discovery of their oncolytic capability led to their employ in radiotherapy (ablation of malignant tumours).


Frequency of side effectsEdit

The probability or chance of experiencing side effects are characterised as : [1][2]

  • Very common >=1/10
  • Common (frequent) >=1/100 and <1/10
  • Uncommon (infrequent) >=1/1000 and <1/100
  • Rare >=1/10000 and <1/1000
  • Very rare <1/10000

Examples of therapeutic side effectsEdit

Possible side effects of nicotine.[3]

Examples of undesirable/unwanted side effectsEdit

  • Echinacea – more than 20 different types of reactions have been reported, including asthma attacks, loss of pregnancy, hives, swelling, aching muscles and gastrointestinal upsets.[15]
  • Feverfew – pregnant women should avoid using this herb, as it can trigger uterine contractions. In animal experiments, the use of feverfew was found to trigger spontaneous abortions (miscarriages).[citation needed]
  • Asteraceae plants – which include feverfew, echinacea, dandelion and chamomile. Side effects include allergic dermatitis and hay fever.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

  • Pharmacogenetics: the use of genetic information to determine which type of drugs will work best for a patient


  1. ^ "Common and Rare Side Effects for misoprostol oral". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Detailed reference list is located on a separate image page.
  4. ^ Boseley, Sarah (2006-06-17). "Drugs firm blocks cheap blindness cure". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  5. ^ Gracer, Richard (February 2007). "The Buprenorphine Effect on Depression" (PDF). National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Bodkin, JA; Zornberg, GL; Lukas, SE; Cole, JO (1995). "Buprenorphine Treatment of Refractory Depression". Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 15: 49–57. doi:10.1097/00004714-199502000-00008. PMID 7714228. 
  7. ^ Mood Stabilizers for Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive). (2003-08-01). Retrieved on 2011-08-17.
  8. ^ a b Wing, DA; Powers, B; Hickok, D (2010). "U.S. Food and Drug Administration Drug Approval: Slow Advances in Obstetric Care in the United States". Obstetrics & Gynecology. 115 (4): 825–33. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181d53843. PMID 20308845. 
  9. ^ Shen, WW; Mahadevan, J; Hofstatter, L; Sata, LS (July 1983). "Doxepin as a potent H2 and H2 antihistamine for epigastric distress". Am J Psychiatry. 140 (7): 957–8. doi:10.1176/ajp.140.7.957. PMID 6859336. 
  10. ^ Off-label Use of Gabapentin, Idaho Drug Utilization Review, educational leaflet, 2004.
  11. ^ "Pregnancy". (New Medical Information and Health Information). Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. 
  12. ^ Deem, Samuel G. "Premature Ejaculation". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  13. ^ Gelenberg, Alan J.; et al. (2010). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder (PDF). American Psychiatric Association. 
  14. ^ Cheshire, William P.; Fealey, Robert D. (2008). "Drug-induced hyperhidrosis and hypohidrosis: incidence, prevention and management" (PDF). Drug Safety. 31 (2): 109–126. ISSN 0114-5916. PMID 18217788. 
  15. ^ "Filagra Vs Fildena". 23 February 2017. 

External linksEdit