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Medication Side Effects and Interactions

Patient checks on prescription

Print this article here and print the medication tool here!

What is medication?

  • Medication helps people get or stay healthy.
  • You may take medication to help you feel better.
    • For example, when you have a headache or a cold.

What is medication?

  • Some people take medication everyday.
  • For example, if you have:
    • Seizures,
    • Asthma,
    • Diabetes, or
    • High Blood Pressure.

 Why and When should you take medication?

  • Each medication has a purpose.
  • Your doctor helps you decide when to take medication.
  • You take medication when you are sick.
  • You take medication to feel better if you have a chronic health condition.

What is a medication side effect?

  • A side effect is an unwanted effect from your medication.
  • A side effect can make you feel bad or uncomfortable.
  • A side effect can make you sick.
  • A side effect can be dangerous or life threatening.

What are common side effects?

  • Common side effects of medication include:
    • Headaches
    • Feeling tired or sleepy
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Upset stomach
    • Redness on your skin
    • Feeling nervous
    • Gaining weight
    • Dry mouth

Ask the doctor about side effects.

  • Talk to the doctor about side effects when the doctor orders your medication.
  • Make sure the doctor knows:
    • About all of your other medications.
    • About vitamins, herbs, or other remedies you use.
    • About ALL of the allergies you have.

Ask the doctor about side effects.

  • What are the common side effects of this medication?
  • What are other side effects?
  • What should I do if I feel bad or uncomfortable?

Tell your support person or your doctor if you feel any side effects.

What are medication interactions?

  • Sometimes a medication interacts with other things.
  • This causes the medication to work in a different way. An interaction can be harmful to you.
  • Medications interact with:
    • Other medications
    • Foods
    • Drinks
    • Activities

Ask the doctor about medication interactions.

  • Does this medication interact with other medications, foods, drinks or activities?
  • What should I avoid?
  • What should I do if I feel bad or uncomfortable?

Ask the pharmacist:

  • About your medication's side effects and interactions.
  • When and how to take your medication.
  • To explain the medication information sheet to you.

Get help if you need it.

  • Call the doctor or pharmacist when you have questions about your medication.
  • Call the doctor if you don’t feel well after taking a medication.
  • Tell your family, friends or support staff right away to help you.


  • Drug Side Effects
  • Medication Management
    • California Department of Developmental Services DSPT
    • Year 1 Student's Resource Guide
    • Year 2 Student's Resource Guide
Last updated on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:31