Benefits and risks of drugs

Benefits and risks of drugs

There are millions of people who use Bayer’s medicines and devices when they are ill; patients trust in the efficacy of our products.

At Bayer, we work diligently to maintain that trust. At every stage of a drug’s lifecycle: from development right through to approval and finally putting our drug on the market, we ensure that the benefits of our drugs are greater than their potential risks. We take patient concerns seriously and we investigate all side effects that are reported to us. We want the drug to do its job with as minimum discomfort to the patient as possible.

If you are prescribed a medicine, reading the package insert that comes with your medication can be daunting so we’ve created five tips to help put this information into perspective:

Tip 1

The drug is here to fight a disease or to prevent an impending health issue.

Your doctor prescribed you the drug to treat a disease or prevent a condition from getting worse. These positive effects were observed in hundreds or thousands of patients.

After checking all the data, the health authorities decided that the drug’s benefits are greater than its risks in these patients.

Side effects cannot be ruled out entirely. But it is far more likely that the drug will help you get better than expose you to the risk of serious side effects.

Tip 2

Use the drug exactly as it is described in the package insert, or as your doctor or pharmacist told you to.

The dosage regimen – i.e. how much of the drug you should use, how often, and before, during or after a meal – has been determined in the course of clinical studies with hundreds or thousands of patients. The optimal dose balances the positive effects with potential side effects.

As a patient, you should only change the dosage of your medicine with the agreement of your doctor or pharmacist.

Tip 3

Read the sections which tell you when to take the medication and when not to take the medication.

In these sections, the insert tells you in which cases you should not use this particular drug, e.g. if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, suffer from kidney or liver problems, use certain other medications, or if you are pregnant.

If any of the criteria listed in the package insert apply to you, you have an increased risk of experiencing negative drug effects.

In this case, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist first.

Tip 4

Take the expiry date and storage information on the package seriously.

If milk gets sour, you will smell it and won’t drink it anymore. When a drug gets too old or has not been stored properly, it may not look any different, but it might not work as well.

When you get a new drug, check the storage information on the package insert. And before you use a drug, make sure that it has not expired yet.

You should not use drugs after they have expired or if you are unsure if they have been stored properly. When in doubt, show the drug to your pharmacist for advice.

Tip 5

Be aware of the side effects listed in the package insert.

The package insert lists the side effects and also states how often each effect occurred during clinical studies. “Frequent” means 1 in 10 to 1 in 100 patients; “very rare” side effects affect fewer than 1 in 10,000 patients.

While under medication, be alert to the side effects listed in the package insert as well as to any other unusual reactions.

If you notice that your health and wellbeing seem to be negatively affected while using a medicine, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately for advice.

Reporting side effects:

Because we are all unique, some of us might have different experiences with medication than others. Side effects cannot be ruled out. If you experience a side effect, it’s important that you get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible – they will be able to give you further advice and should report the side effect to the health authorities as standard practice.

Should you wish to report a side effect or quality complaint to us directly, you can do so here: . The package insert that comes with your medication might also tell you how you can report a side effect.

You can also get in touch with us at Bayer Pharmacovigilance. Please find country-specific contact details on our website under the menu option: “Locations”.