Concept

Side effect

Summary
In medicine, a side effect is an effect, whether therapeutic or adverse, that is unintended; although the term is predominantly employed to describe adverse effects, it can also apply to beneficial, but unintended, consequences of the use of a drug. Occasionally, drugs are prescribed or procedures are performed for their side effects; in that case, said side effect ceases to be a side effect and is now an intended effect. For instance, X-rays were historically (and are currently) used as an imaging technique; the discovery of their oncolytic capability led to their employ in radiotherapy (ablation of malignant tumours). Frequency of side effects The World Health Organization and other health organisations characterise the probability of experiencing side effects as:
  • Very common, ≥ 1⁄10
  • Common (frequent), 1⁄10 to 1⁄100
  • Uncommon (infrequent), 1⁄100 to 1⁄1000
  • Rare, 1⁄1000 to 1⁄10000
  • Very rare, < 1⁄10000 The European Commission recommends that the list should conta
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