Also called: Drugs, Medications

Everyone knows what medicines are for - to make you feel better when you are sick. But many people don't realize that all medicines have risks as well as benefits. The risks of medicines include unwanted side effects or interactions with food or other medicines you may be taking. Some risks are not very serious, like an upset stomach. Others, like liver damage, are more serious. When a medicine's benefits outweigh its known risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers it safe enough to approve. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines must be approved before they can be sold in the U.S. To reduce the risk of a problem, follow the directions carefully when taking medicines. Make sure that your health care provider knows all of the medicines and supplements you are using. Also, make sure to mention if you are pregnant or nursing. Some medicines can hurt your baby.