Side effects are your body’s way of telling you that something has upset the chemical balance. There are six main chemicals that make up 99% of the human body: Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Calcium and Phosphorous. There are hundreds of thousands of possible combinations that group these chemicals together to make up the human body. Prescription drugs are all designed with the chemicals listed above in mind. To put it simply, the body is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. When you get sick, a piece goes missing, so you have to find the right piece that fits in its original place.
Are All Side Effects Negative?
Not all side effects are negative. There are some side effects that are positive but for the most part they are negative reactions to the body. Side effects come in various degrees across a whole spectrum such as the minor ones (redness, skin rash) to more severe (kidney failure). Side effects come about because the drug introduced into the body, interacts negatively with other chemical components in the body.
Every active ingredient has a chemical structure and design based on where in your body it should go to be processed. We know a lot about how the body works but we can’t control how the body uses these active ingredients. The body might transform 80% of one active ingredient into an enzyme that reduces inflammation. The other 20% might get converted into an enzyme that increases acid production in the stomach lining (acid reflux can be a side effect). That is why testing during clinical trials is so important.
Do Only Prescription Drugs Cause Side Effects?
Prescription drugs are not the only cause of side effects. The food you eat, the air you breathe and even the water you drink can cause side effects. As examples, milk can cause side effects for those who are lactose intolerant. My friends have children who are allergic to peanuts and peanut oils. A simple peanut can cause an allergic reaction that can kill them. Drug stents which are metal tubes used to prop open blood arteries have side effects. They cause scar tissue to be created in the artery wall and your immune system attacks the metal stent which is considered a foreign invader.
Can You Prevent Side Effects?
You really can’t prevent side effects. It is just a way for your body to advise you that something inside is not reacting the way it is supposed to. Other than avoiding the external factors that can cause side effects (milk, nuts, etc.), prescription drug side effects are difficult to avoid. The main reason they are difficult to avoid is that you are introducing chemicals absorbed by the body in larger quantities than if you ate or drank them.
Let me clarify this. The six main chemicals that we need to sustain ourselves are introduced into our body by drinking, eating or breathing nutrients. Bananas give us potassium, oxygen by breathing and chicken for proteins made up of carbons. Let’s take eating as our example since the majority of prescription drugs are taken orally. When we eat vegetables and steak, we get certain nutrients from those foods. It is not concentrated in just carrots in the salad as an example.
With prescription drugs, the chemical we need to treat our body comes in a concentrated form. Too much of the active ingredient and it might become toxic for our body which creates more harm than good. Too little active ingredient and our sickness continues since your body can’t heal itself. You need just the right amount (dosage) so your body can remain healthy. That is why initial lab testing is performed on mice to figure out what dosage works best for humans. Besides, it is cheaper to poison mice than humans. So what is the worst side effect