Why do we need new handouts for side effects?
It is really surprising that when a patient asks what the potential side effects of a particular medication are and how likely they are to occur, there is not a simple and easily available answer. In my experience, different psychiatrists will give very different answers to what the potential side effects of a particular medication may be and how common each side effect is.
What are the handouts provided on these pages?
So we made handouts that list, simply and directly, the potential side effects of each medication and the percentage of patients who reported having each problem. Almost all the handouts are only one page long.
These handouts are derived from the Prescribing Information (and other sources where needed).
How should I use the handouts?
The handout for each medication is available as a separate PDF so that you can easily click on that particular medication and use that handout. You can print the handout, send it through your medical record, etc. If you send it through your medical record, there will be documentation that you sent it.
The handouts cover side effects that occur in 1% or more of patients (or at least 1% more often than on placebo). They also ask the patient to look up other aspects of the medication on www.medlineplus.gov. That includes the potentially serious but uncommon side effects.
Many clinicians have told me that they found these simple handouts very helpful. When a patient says that he has blurred vision or headache or whatever, I routinely look up whether that medication has been reported to cause that adverse effect and how commonly.
How do we know that the symptom was an adverse effect?
Whenever available, we took undesirable events that occurred with the drug twice as often as with placebo to be “adverse effects”.
What is a “common” adverse effect?
“Common” adverse effects are listed first, defined as occurring at 5% or more on the drug (or at least 5% more often on the drug than on placebo).
The “less common” adverse effects are listed next, defined as occurring at 1% or more on the drug (or at least 1% more often on the drug than on placebo).
Adverse effects occurring in less than 1% of patients (or at least 1% more often on the drug than on placebo) are not listed in these handouts.
Click on the links below to download or print each handout.
(Note: Patient handouts and worksheets on other topics are available to Members for download from the HANDOUTS page on this website.)
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