How can I avoid or reduce side effects?
Some side effects can be avoided by following the specific instructions for that medicine.
For some medicines, these instructions could include starting with a low dose and building up, taking the medicine with meals (e.g. anti-inflammatory medicines), taking it on an empty stomach (e.g. antibiotics) or taking it at a particular time of the day, or even staying out of the sun (e.g. the antibiotic doxycycline).
If you are having trouble with side effects of a medicine, talk to your health professional about it. There may be other ways to take the medicine or even other medicines that might suit you better.
Knowing whether side effects can be managed may help you when deciding whether to start new medicines.
Some side effects get better with time. Nausea is typical of this — some medicines make you nauseous for the first few days or even weeks, but the nausea then goes away.
Other side effects do not go away, or do not occur straight away. Knowing if a side effect is long term or short term can affect your decision about whether to take a particular medicine.