It’s Not All in Your Head: Why Drug Side Effects Often Go Unnoticed

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

It’s Not All in Your Head: Why Drug Side Effects Often Go Unnoticed

Clinicians often misdiagnose problems associated with drugs, particularly when patients are on multiple medications.

Physicians sometimes choose long-acting drugs with side effects in favor of safer choices, and as patients, how many of us question our doctor’s advice about a medication?

drug side effects unnoticed learn how to report adverse events to FDA

Besides the risks to the patient experiencing a drug side effect or complication, there is a bigger problem to healthcare in general – doctors failing to connect symptoms to medications results in a belief by the public that the drugs they are taking are safer than they really are. 

If doctors don’t make the connection between a drug and the symptom, they will not report it as an adverse event to the FDA.

Drug safety experts estimate that only 10% of adverse events associated with drugs are reported to the FDA.

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Why Do Drug Side Effects Get Ignored?

Federal funding for drug research and safety has dropped dramatically in recent years, and pharmaceutical companies now pay for over 85 percent of all research, medical journal publications, and medical conferences, where doctors receive much of their information about medications, which in some cases can be biased and even inaccurate.

There are various reasons that doctors fail to pick up serious side effects associated with certain medications, including:

  • Their tight schedules force them to spend less and less time with patients.
  • The bulk of the information they receive about medications outlines their benefits, not the dangers.
  • Cognitive dissonance puts them in denial about the negative effects that drugs can have.

Consumers Should Report Side Effects to the FDA

The only way the FDA can assure safe and effective medical products remain on the market is the collection of information from doctors and patients.

Reporting side effects, injuries, and complications to the FDA from drugs and medical devices is simple.

Avoid Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a human phenomenon based on the assumption that people want their expectations to become reality, and sometimes modify their thinking to make that happen.

In the case of drug side effects, the impulse is often to attribute harm to something other than the medication to preserve the notion that our efforts help rather than hurt.

Cognitive dissonance can be reduced by consumers by changing the belief that if there is not a “black box warning” or lawsuits showing up in TV commercials, that the drug they are taking does not cause the side effect or complication they are experiencing. 

There is no harm to the doctor that prescribed the drug if consumers report side effects or complications to the FDA unless that doctor ignored warnings. 

On the other hand, reporting the side effect to the FDA could save future patients from experiencing similar complications.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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