Every year the news is filled with headlines about another prescription medication and dangerous side effects. Over the past few decades the cycle has seemed at times never-ending. The Food and Drug Administration approves a new formula for this or for that and the drug companies’ promise exciting results for the targeted consumer. A new weight loss drug will end years of difficulty for the overweight or morbidly obese, arthritis sufferers find new relief in the next drug coming to the market, or new hope for high cholesterol patients is find in just one more little pill.
But then the headlines change and that weight loss drug is linked to heart attacks or heart valve damage, the arthritis drug that brought so many others relief was a silent health threat all along. The list goes on and on, from drugs that raise the risk for certain cancers to medications causing irreparable heart damage. Sometimes it’s tough to keep track of one prescription’s side effects or another.
Should we keep track? Europeans think so. In fact, there is a new tool available for patients and doctors overseas. Based in the UK, the European Medicine’s Agency has gone to the step of setting up a database on a website with access to the database.
The new site lists hundreds of drugs and their suspected side effects as provided by patients, doctors and health care professionals, even some pharmaceutical companies themselves. The law requires drug makers to disclose adverse side effects before a prescription can be sold in the European Union.
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