The medical profession is as old as the human history and so is the history of medicines. In current era, with advancement in medical science, the intensity of diseases has also increased. New medicines are being developed for the treatment of complicated diseases, but these medicines are themselves associated with several side effects that range from minor to severe intensity
Asking questions about your treatment or medicine is important to help you understand your options. You have a right to ask your pharmacist or doctor about the medicines you are prescribed. It also helps you to know what to expect if you take a medicine, stop taking it or do not take it at all.
Here are some key questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking a medicine.
1. What are the Side-Effects?
Side effects are unwanted effects of a medicine. All medicines can cause side effects, but not everybody will experience them. It is important to be aware of the side effects of medicines so that you know what to do if you experience them.
Ask your doctor about:
- common side effects — these side effects are usually less serious but more common
- serious side effects — these side effects occur less frequently but may have a greater impact
It is a good idea to ask your doctor about possible interactions with other medicines. You can also get information about side effects from the consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet that comes with all prescription and pharmacist-only medicines.
2. What would happen if I did not take this medicine?
You might decide you do not want to take a medicine your doctor has prescribed. You might also think you do not want to risk the side effects, you cannot afford it, or you will ‘get better anyway’.
This is your right. But some conditions will get worse and perhaps cause permanent damage to your health if you do not take a prescribed medicine.
3. How will I know if the medicine is working and how long will that take?
Some medicines, including pain-relief medicines, work almost immediately but with others, such as antidepressants, it may be weeks before you notice a difference.
Before you start taking a medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist how long it will take for the medicine to start working and how will you know if it is working.
4. What other treatment options are available?
There may be other medicines to consider for your condition. Some medicines may be more effective but have a greater risk of side effects.
It is important to weigh up the benefits and risks for each medicine option. The cost of the medicines may also vary widely, so you may want to ask if there are more affordable alternatives.
In some cases, medicine may not be the only or best approach to improving your condition. Sometimes lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight (if you are overweight) and physical activity, may be effective treatments. For some conditions, there might be other options such as physiotherapy or councelling.
Natural Plant-based medicine as an alternative?
Synthetic drugs not only cure disease but also causes severe side-effect to the human body. A lot of examples reported in literature which is related with the side-effects cause by the synthetic drugs e.g.;
Paracetamol is well known antipyretic drug, but it can also cause liver poisoning as major side-effect. Naproxen causes gastrointestinal side-effect.
Ibuprofen is another antipyretic drug which causes nephrotoxicity including renal failure when given to volume depleted children.
Natural plant-based medicines have phytochemical compounds used for the treatment of many diseases. Some medicinal plants showed antioxidant activity. In fact, several plants and herbs are reported with diverse medicinal effects and are used in practice.
In conclusion everything created by the God on this earth has some positive effect in contrast to human made medicines. Instead of looking for synthetic drugs for the cure of any disease, we must consider natural drugs which can reduce the side-effect toxicities of synthetic counterparts and will maximize therapeutic consequences with the most effective and dynamic healing effects.