Finding Out About the Side Effects of Prescription Drugs

Here's how to locate the information — and how to make sense of what you find.

These days, many people are jittery about the side effects of prescription drugs. But how do you find out about the hazards of your medications? Sometimes the information just isn't available — for the wrong reasons. We've been hearing a lot about cases in which drug companies kept negative clinical trial results under wraps. In some cases, there may also be an element of legitimate doubt and debate.

But in many instances, information about side effects is available; it just doesn't seem to be getting through very well. So if you have concerns, you'll need to take the initiative in getting answers. At the same time, it's important to keep things in perspective. Usually serious effects are rare events. You should know about them, but a fear of side effects shouldn't keep you from taking medications that you need.

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