The word "side" has a multitude of uses in the English language. It is used over and over again for many different meanings and lends itself to other words to create a multitude of ambiguous, suggestive, and descriptive nouns or adjectives.
We use "side" for every possible type of meaning; inside out, sideways, side kick, sidelines, sunny side up, side interest, take sides, outside, side dish, bright side, side of beef, up side down, right side up, seamy side, and the most ominous use is "SIDE EFFECTS".
"Side effect" is defined as a consequence other than that, for which an agent is used, especially an adverse effect on another organ.
The word "side" somehow suggests the perception that there is a benefit occurring simultaneously. This is where the pharmaceutical industry employs semantics and language to create an illusion. If a drug makes a person feel ill- then that is the effect of the drug. If it makes a person feel good- then that is an effect of the drug. Rarely does a person experience a drug where it makes them feel good and bad at the same time.
If a person becomes paralyzed, has a stroke, attempts suicide, or dies it seems trivial and flippant to name such effects as "side effects". They are without doubt effects that fall in the category of "Bad" effects. The FDA allows this suggestive language and has other notable areas of verbal inaccuracy. The FDA substitutes the term "discontinuation" for "withdrawal", but that's another story.
The FDA should require accurate language banning the use of "side effects" as warnings and replace the term with "bad effects" which more accurately communicates an immediate call to the doctor, stopping use of the drug, and re-evaluating the prescribed drug.
"Side effects" suggest that bad effects may occur but to continue use until the benefits of the drug become evident. Too often someone witnesses a bad reaction to a drug and still continues use because they perceive the effects as somewhat harmless, part of the cure, just a simple "side effect" not reacting soon enough to stop the drug as the person goes into nausea, possible stroke, coma or death.
"Bad effects" give
a clearer understanding to the use and dangers of the prescribed drug.
Perception is everything for the consumer and clarity in language regarding health dangers should be made
mandatory by the FDA! Eliminate the term "side" and in its place use the
term "bad". It could save lives!
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