SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A new study says when you take "what the doctor ordered" - the risk of suffering side effects is a lot higher than you might think. A new study says the adverse reactions to medicine could be five times higher that what is currently reported.
Diane Lind, a 72-year-old Salt Lake woman knows all about the unexpected side effects of prescription medicine. Two months ago, her heart medicine caused a stomach problem and sent her to the hospital. "I was bleeding internally." She also says that she "passed out." And felt "awful." Pharmacist Dean Jolley, of Jolley's Corner Pharmacy on 17th South and 11th East in Salt Lake City, also knows about side effects. And its not just a professional knowledge. He has had his run in with so called adverse reactions."I just broke out in a red rash and I opened up my shirt and red hives were all over my body - like I had a bad sunburn." Jolley says the reaction was brought on by an unknown allergy to an anti-biotic. He is very aware of that now.
He's also very aware of a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine. While the current FDA list of adverse reactions or side effects averages 69 per prescription - the Stanford study says the real number is 329 side effects per pill - that's five times more. And the study goes on to point out that by looking at things differently - the researchers were able to identify a total of 1,332 drug side effects previously not known.
Jolley says, people need to understand that "These are potent medicines that can do things to your body for good and for bad." He suggests that after a doctor prescribes something, and even after a pharmacists tells us about the medicine, we need to do our own research and keep track of how we feel when we take medicines. "You have to be very cautious when you take medicine. And listen to your body."
The Stanford researchers are calling the "true" side effects of medicine. The FDA, which maintains a database of 4 million side effects reported by doctors and patients, can't just accept everything from the one study, but it is clear it will have to look into the numbers.