Well, it could probably be said that every drug out there, even the most innocuous ones like aspirin, have side effects. I don't think willow bark has any, but then it is pretty hard to get accurate and specific doses and effects from drinking willow bark tea. Plus it tastes like crap. Aspirin on the other hand, has specific effects, relieves pain, swelling, fever, and causes intestinal and stomach problems, thins the blood as well as Reye's syndrome. So, there must be a happy medium, take aspirin when needed for the benefits, not too long to avoid the nasty problems. That is unless one of the side effects are what you really want, like thinning the blood. I've talked about it here before, I take a baby aspirin every day because it is almost as effective as Plavix, but six hundred times cheaper and without the HUGE risk of death and other nasty side effects that the prescription med has. In fact, Plavix really only works when taken with an aspirin every day, so the reality is that Plavix by itself probably doesn't do much of anything at all, other than cause a few deaths and disabilities here and there.
I did not even know that Plavix would even help my condition if it weren't for the huge numbers of DTC (Direct to Consumer) ads for the anticlotting drug that filled magazines and TV shows. Anymore, that's how most drugs are gotten into the hands of the end consumers. (I could say patients, but that is probably not exactly correct) People see ads for cures for all sorts of diseases on the TV. The Big Pharma companies WANT consumers to think that they are sick, then go to the doctor and ask for a prescription. This method of selling your product works quite well, Big Pharma now spends nearly 6 times as much on marketing than they do on research for new drugs. And they tell us about all the diseases we have that we did not know about until it was pointed out to us on Prime Time how heartburn was a serious threat to our health, if your legs fall asleep there are pills for that, if you think you might be depressed then there are pills for that, and that those pills can be greatly augmented by other pills, that acne can be cured with a pill, that gout can be cured with a pill, if you have dry eyes then you can take a pill, if you don't want to eat right then you can take a pill, and finally, that laughing out loud was a neurological problem, and there is a pill to cure that as well. (Not kidding about the last one ((PsuedoBulbar Affect))
As a race, we are sicker than we thought, and the cool thing is, insurance pays for you to try it all.
You might just get lucky, with enough pills going into you, there is a possibility that enough side effects might cover whatever your problem might be. And you have to believe it, side effects abound in the medication industry. That's the reason that we have drugs to begin with. Finding a chemical or combination of compounds and seeing what it does within the human body. And as so often happens, after giving to to humans, finding out other things that it does. And if at all possible, capitalizing on those, side effects. Let's look at one fun drug in particular. Cyclosporin. This is a drug that for many decades was the drug of choice to suppress the immune system so that organs from one human could be transplanted into a different human. Cyclosporin has a lot of nasty side effects, like making your hair fall out, or unusual growth of hair in places, making you susceptible to infections and in many cases unable to fight infections and therefore dying, dizziness in a big way, uncontrolled thirst, numbness, tingling, loss of appetite, and the big one, making your eyes water like crazy. WOW! Okay. here's a drug that has a very specialized market, transplant patients. It helps the body fight the natural tendency to reject a new kidney or heart or whatever. But now, a side effect that the manufacturer can capitalize on, dry eyes. WOO HOO! Surely there must be a lot more people out there with dry eyes that have insurance, and therefore will want this rather nasty stuff to make their eyes water. SURELY THERE MUST BE! If not, advertise on TV and TELL the consumers watching that they NEED a drug that has proven itself to have extremely noxious side effects (like unable to fight off infections like TB or pneumonia and then dying) in order to moisten their eyes.
Everything out there for us to get a script from our docs started out as a side effect for a drug. Some, very few, the intended effect is the real deal and what they planned. Most, are side effects and should be used with caution. Sometime when sitting in front of TV, take a moment and actually listen to what the announcer tells you might possibly happen to you if your take their drug. In almost every case, there is a huge number of serious problems possible. Remember, the desired effect is generally only one of the things that will happen to your body when you take any drug. Assess the risk before you take any of their money making pills.