Why We Care About Side Effects, and Why You Should Too

Each time you take a pill, slap on a patch, or ingest drops of medicines, you’re exposing yourself to the risk of side effects. Ranging from harmless to harmful, from obvious to eerily undetectable, medicine-induced side effects are the fourth leading cause of death in US. Considering the side effects of medicine before taking them can save your life.

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) is effective at relieving muscle aches but using just 2 extra-strength pills over the recommended dosage can create liver damage.
  • Lavender essential oils have properties that relieve anxiety, but can cause estrogen surges in infants (babies with breasts!).
  • Statins lower cholesterol, but cause muscle aches and pains, increase your risk of diabetes, and might affect your cognitive reasoning.

But that’s what happens to other people, most of us don’t worry about side effects until it happens to them. But it happened to me, Suzanne, the founder of MedShadow. Before I was born, my mother was prescribed a drug, DES, that was supposed to help her pregnancy. Instead, it affected the fetus’ fertility organs. I was that fetus and DES affected my fertility organs, leaving me without the ability to bear a child. That drug was given to about five million pregnant women before it was finally banned in pregnancy. For more about my story and why I launched MedShadow, click here.

Side effects are personal. They can seriously affect you and your family’s health.

  • Read about Kim’s heartbreak when her husband Woody suffered the undisclosed and devastating side effects antidepressants; or
  • Rachel’s story about the harms that women aren’t warned about with breast implants; or
  • Andrew’s search for help with his military service related injuries when traditional medicines couldn’t help.

There are more than 2 million serious adverse drug reactions in hospitals yearly, leading to more than 100,000 deaths. Side effect awareness, management, and avoidance can change that number.

We learn about new side effects every day

Medicines are almost always tested on very few people, maybe a couple thousand. Therefore, certain side effects that affect only one person in a thousand won’t even show up in the study. The drug is deemed safe, and then a million folks are taking it. Now one thousand people are suffering from that seemingly rare side effect—and you could be one of them. This scenario is especially true when it comes to new medicines.

MedShadow —the leading national source for medical information that never accepts pharmaceutical funding—is nonprofit and we are endlessly dedicated to helping you become educated consumers. On this site, you’ll find hundreds of fact-based, easy-to-understand articles with information you deserve about the medicines you use and alternative wellness options so that you can take control of your health care.


Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.


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