Side effects to prescription drugs are one of the major reasons people are rushed into hospital-but do you know just how many possible side effects there are to the drugs your doctors prescribe? Two biologists have so far tracked 1,600 of them.
Side effects from yellow vision-apparently suffered by artist Vincent Van Gogh-to involuntary body movements and respiratory paralysis, where you just can’t breathe, have been recognised by scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine at Barcelona.
They have produced a biological and chemical ‘signature’ to each of 1,162 side effects in the hope that doctors may be able to deal with them better and drug companies find safer alternatives.
By understanding the bio-chemical profile of each side effect, they believe they are able to identify the drugs that may cause it in the first place. One side effect, known as Buccoglossal Syndrome, a problem where the body twitches, could be caused by six different drugs, although not all of them may list it as a side effect at the moment.
(Source: Chemistry & Biology, 2013; 20: 594).