demonstrate that they are relatively safe when used as directed, and when the
benefits outweigh their risks. Thus, some very dangerous drugs are approved
because they are necessary to treat serious illness. Digitalis, which causes the
heart muscle to contract, is a dangerous drug, but doctors are permitted to use
as potent as digitalis would not be approved to treat such minor ailments as
temporary fatigue because the risks outweigh the benefits.
Many persons suffer ill effects from drugs even though they take the drug
millions, some people may not respond in a predictable way to the drug. A person
may become excited rather than relaxed. Others may be hypersensitive, or
ever-larger doses are necessary to produce the desired therapeutic effect.
cocaine, and Benzedrine are common habit-forming drugs. Finally, drugs often
have unwanted side effects. These usually cause only minor discomfort such as a
skin rash, headache, or drowsiness. Certain drugs, however, can produce serious,
even life-threatening adverse reactions. For example, the drug Thalidomide was
once called one of the safest sedatives ever developed, but thousands of women
deformed babies. Other adverse reactions stem from mixing drugs. Thus, taking
aspirin, which has blood-thinning qualities, for a headache can be very harmful
if one is also taking other blood-thinning drugs such as heparin or dicumarol.