Difference Between Adverse Effect and Side Effect

Adverse effect and side effect are terms commonly associated with drugs. They are used by nurses and doctors, to refer to undesirable effects of a medication on a patient. In fact, these terms have become so commonplace that even those outside the medical field make use of these words to refer to symptoms they feel after taking a drug. There are people who use them interchangeably, which is incorrect as these terms refer to different phenomenon. This article aims to highlight these differences.

Side Effect

These are symptoms shown by a patient after taking a medication that are a natural consequence of the chemical formula of the drug on the body of the patient. Side effects are mostly anticipated as a drug comes to the market after several trial studies have been conducted and even if a patient is unaware of these side effects, doctors are in the know of all such side effects. Mostly side effects are harmless and require no medication. Doctors advise patients not to pay any attention to side effects as they go away in a few days or even hours. However, in some cases, some of the side effects may be serious and require intervention by the doctor. He may reduce the dosage of the drug or stop it altogether to remove these troublesome side effects.

Adverse Effect

As the name implies, some patients, apart from side effects of a drug also report some undesirable effects that are not anticipated even by the doctors. These effects may be harmful for the patient and prompt the doctor to discontinue the administration of the drug. Adverse effects may hamper with the treatment procedure, may complicate the disease or may even worsen the situation or produce a new ailment in the patient.


What is the difference between Adverse Effect and Side Effect?

• In general, side effects are symptoms shown by patients after consuming a drug that are undesirable. These side effects are a natural consequence of the drug, and a doctor is aware of all of them. Mostly side effects are transient in nature and go away in a few days of continuing with the medication. However, some of the side effects may be serious for the patient requiring doctor to lower the drug dosage.

• Adverse effects are those side effects that are of a serious nature and may even be life threatening for the patient. Patients may need hospitalization and discontinuation of the drug when they show up these adverse effects.