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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
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Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Where a prescription medicine leaflet lists side effects

Customer Question

Where a prescription medicine leaflet lists side effects associated with that medicine, it is possible anyone can experience these side effects as these would have been discovered during trial?
I experienced some side effects having taken a painkiller for the first time, yet my employer is trying to imply I was under the influence of alcohol. They interviewed their own company doctor who initially stated that, yes it was indeed possible that I suffered the side effects and said these could last 2 hours also before I felt completely normal again. I was stupid in that I did not read the leaflet or dispensing label (avoid alcohol - I didn't read this prior), but as I had taken pain killers before without problem I assumed I would be ok. I hadn't eaten any breakfast that morning and did not finish my lunch. I had also consumed one an a half alcoholic drinks but was certainly not over the drink drive limit. When the company continued to say I was 'drunk' I argued that the company doctor had backed up the case I suffered side effects - they then re-interviewed the doctor and he has now conveniently changed his opinion.
I would like a statement from a professional - the side effects listed within a patient information leaflet are possible and anyone could be effected? The fact I did not eat properly could have been a contributing factor in experiencing side effects? Any alcohol could increase the risk of experiencing any side effects associated with the medication?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 months ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

Generally speaking, any side effect that is listed in the medicine leaflet can potentially occur in anyone taking the drug. Most of the side effects that are listed for most drugs will only occur in a small percentage of people that take the drug, but there generally is a potential that each side effect can occur in anyone that takes the drug. There are a few instances in which potential side effects may occur only in a specific sub-group of the population, such as people with certain diseases or enzyme deficiencies, but those side effects would usually be listed as specific to that sub-group.

Most of the side effects that listed in the leaflet were identified during clinical studies, but there also is some ongoing monitoring of reported side effects after drugs re approved, and there are times that certain side effects are only identified after broader use of the drug.

Certain side effects are more likely to occur if alcohol is consumed with certain drugs, but it is not true for every drug and every potential side effect. Eating also can affect certain drugs, and certain side effects from those drugs.

We cannot provide statements that can be used for legal proceedings. If the information is all that is needed, then you can print the above information. But if you need a statement for legal proceedings, it would be necessary to see your doctor, and not the company doctor.

If I can provide any clarification, please let me know.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 months ago.

Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance.

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