"New research on Drug Side Effects done at Stanford School of Medicine has discovered nearly 5 times the 70 or so potential reactions that are listed on the average drug insert."
March 24, 2012
Prescription medications usually always carry a rather frightening (and long) list of possible side effects. These drug side effects may range from mild symptoms like headache or nausea to more serious risks such as seizures or temporary blindness. New research suggests that the side effects listed on the label often represent just a small portion of what users are really experiencing.
Results of the Study
Two separate databases were created to organize the findings of this research and both are available to the public. The first, OFFSIDES, discovered an additional 329 side effects on average for each of the 1,332 drugs that were studied - nearly 5 times the 70 or so potential reactions that are listed on the average drug insert.
The TWOSIDES database relates to drug interactions and is based on more than 50,000 possible medication combinations. An additional 1,301 contraindications were discovered. One of the most important findings is a previously unknown risk of fatal cardiac conditions in patients taking SSRI class antidepressants at the same time as a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication.
While the results of this study are quite alarming, this method of analyzing data will be very beneficial to the medical industry as well as the patients taking the drugs. It may take several years before many of the newly discovered side effects and interactions are mandatorily included in the medication packaging, but doctors and their patients can use the knowledge to determine the most effective prescription combinations for the specified conditions.