‘Side effects’ is a misnomer. Or at least the association most people have with the term.
There is no such thing as a side effect. Just as there is no effect without cause, or vice versa. A drug has effects, which may be listed, and to list one seemingly beneficial effect as the main, and the various other detrimental effects as secondary or side effects is incorrect.
The various effects occur in the body in equal proportions. For example, if a corticosteroid has the action of reducing inflammation, but also causes
- muscle wasting
- ‘moon face’
- secondary diabetes
- peptic ulceration
- susceptibility to infections
- and teratogenic effects
then this is exactly what the drug does. To say that these are possible side effects is incorrect. These are all the actions of the drug, and beneficial or not, they all occur with equal strength. That is not to say that the body does not try to protect itself. The body will attempt to offset these negative effects, and strive to keep homeostasis, which means a healthy balance of the bodily functions. But the damage is inevitable.
It is well known that a common method of dealing with side effects is to prescribe yet more drugs to combat them. Unfortunately this methodology produces more adverse effects.
In the world of prescription drugs, age is most definitely against you-both in early age and also in old age. In both the young and the old, the body’s ability to offset negative effects of pharmaceuticals is diminished.
Why do pharmaceuticals have so many adverse effects?
The unfortunate answer is that it is simply because they are synthetic. Synthetic drugs are not metabolised by the body before use. Their effect is forced on all the tissues of the body, resulting in their myriad adverse effects. Synthetic structures differ from the natural compounds they are modelled off enough to cause unknown and unwanted biological changes.
A need for pharmaceuticals.
Immunosuppressants like corticosteroids are invaluable in modern medicine in preventing rejection of donor organs in transplant patients.
Do pharmaceutical synthetics have natural medicine equivalents?
Do natural medicines have side effects?
If properly prescribed, no. Proper prescription involves matching a correct treatment pattern to a correct pattern diagnosis. Natural medicines must first be metabolised by the body and are then used in the most appropriate manner. The human body can direct natural medicines to be used as needed.
Synthetic vs Biological
The human body is indeed a machine, a most complex biological one. The fact that synthetics are not suited to the biological organism is unfortunate, but it is only that they are not biological themselves.
It is far wiser to attempt to treat the cause of disease. In the above example the cause of inflammation should be treated, rather than to simply mask a symptom. Masking a symptom actually does more harm than good in itself, most definitely in the young, and the old also deserve good health.
The next time you pick up a prescription drug, ask yourself, what is this drug actually doing to me? Has my doctor succeeded in explaining all of my health complaints? Has the medication treated the cause of my ailments? Why have I just been increasing my dose? Why do I now have to change drugs when there has been no improvement in my health?