Common Types of Medications And Their Side Effects

Common Types of Medications And Their Side Effects

common types of medications and their side effects

Whenever a person has prescribed a set of medicines for his/her condition, the first question they ask the doctor or search the internet for is regarding the possible side effects those medications may produce. Medicines are nothing but chemical substances with known biological effects on human beings used in treatment, prevention or diagnosis of disease or illness. This article will give you a list of common types of medications and their side effects and ways by which you can reduce those side effects.

Common Types of Medications and Their Side Effects

Pharmacological drugs can be classified into various groups depending upon their sphere of action. Side effects or adverse effects of any drug are undesirable effects or outcome observed after taking a certain medication. Side effects can range from mild to severe.

Often, it so happens, that a person is allergic to a certain type of medication and is unaware of it. On consuming that medicine, he/she may develop an allergic reaction. Side effects can therefore be allergic or non-allergic.

In case of an allergic reaction towards any medicine, patients may experience the following signs and symptoms

  1. Hives
  2. Rash
  3. Swelling of mouth, lips, and face
  4. Swelling or soreness of throat
  5. Difficulty in breathing

The list mentioned below contains different groups of commonly used medications and their side effects

Sr. No.

Type of Medication 

Side effects


Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Used for relief from pain

Pain in abdomen and hyperacidity are common side effects.

Others include a headache, dizziness, high blood pressure and skin rashes.

Long term use of NSAIDs may cause the formation of gastric ulcers and bleed in severe cases.



Used to treat hyperacidity

Long term use of antacids can cause dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity.

Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide can cause constipation, anorexia and weakness.

Antacids containing magnesium can cause diarrhea. s



Used to treat worm infestation

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and temporary hearing loss.



Used to treat bacterial infections

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating and indigestion, diarrhea and loss of appetite.



To relive or treat diarrhea

A feeling of uneasiness in stomach, fullness or bloating and constipation.



To manage diabetes

The inappropriate dose of anti-diabetic medication can cause symptoms of low blood sugar such as weakness, dizziness, sweating, and loss of consciousness.

Milder side effects include uneasiness in abdomen, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain and swelling of legs and ankles.



To relive or treat nausea and vomiting

There are various types of anti-emetic drugs.

Some common side effects include dryness of mouth, grayish-brownish discoloration of tongue and stools, indigestion, constipation, dizziness and tinnitus, loss of appetite and restlessness. 


Anti-histamine Agents

To treat allergies

Dryness of mouth, blurred vision, dizziness, restlessness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness and confusion.



To manage high blood pressure

Diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, cough and erectile dysfunction in males, headache and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, weight loss or weight gain.


Anti-pyretic Drugs

To treat fever

Abdominal pain and increased sweating, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.


Anti-tussive Agents

To treat a cough

Dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.



Medications used to prevent pregnancy

Headache, dizziness, abdominal fullness or pain, nausea and vomiting, menstrual irregularities, weight gain, and mood disturbances.



To reduce nasal congestion or swelling

Insomnia, raised blood pressure, headache, confusion, restlessness, and dryness of mouth.



To treat conditions which cause electrolyte disturbances such as vomiting and diarrhea

Dizziness and confusion, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, swelling of feet and eyelids, high blood pressure, generalized weakness, muscle twitching.



To promote bowel movements

Diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.


Muscle Relaxants

To relax muscular spasms

Drowsiness and sleepiness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and increased irritability.



Agents which provide protection against certain infections

Pain, redness, itching and swelling at injection site. Mild fever, muscle ache and joint pain, headache and weakness.

Most of the medicines mentioned above are easily available over-the-counter. Prolonged use of any kind of medicine in unmonitored doses is known to produce serious harmful effects on the vital organs of the body.

Some examples of adverse effects from prolonged use of medicines include stomach ulcers with bleeding from prolonged use of NSAIDs, unexplained bruising and bleeding from prolonged and high doses of paracetamol, seizures, and drowsiness from consuming a large amount of electrolyte replacement agents.

It is therefore necessary to consult a doctor in case of even a mild form of illness which may seem manageable. In order to keep side-effects at bay, a tailor-made prescription is always a safer option than self-medication. Each medication comes with its own set of side effects. Side effects are generally mild and do not require any specific management. If side effects or an allergic reaction to any medication is severe, it needs to be reported to the concerned doctor immediately.

How to Reduce Those Side Effects?

The following points must be kept in mind to avoid or reduce the side effects of medications

  1. Prescription Medications - A doctor will adjust and prescribe doses based on suitability. Inappropriate and unmonitored doses are known to cause side effects.
  2. Dose and Timing - Certain medicines are to be taken at certain times of the day or night to achieve desirable effects and lower the chances of producing side effects.
  3. Avoid Another Person’s Medicine - Do not take medications prescribed to another individual even though you are suffering from the same complaint.
  4. Check The Expiry Date - Check the date of manufacturing and expiry before purchasing. Taking medicines after they have crossed expiry dates can cause serious adverse reactions.
  5. Be Well Informed About Your Medicine - Medications usually come with an information leaflet which gives details about indications, actions and side effects. Information regarding medicines is also easily available on the internet. Your doctor and pharmacist can also give you adequate information about this.
  6. Consider Changing Your Lifestyle Choices - Several diseases can be treated by simply opting for healthier lifestyle options.
  7. Avoid Alcohol - Consuming medicines, especially antibiotics along with alcohol or other recreational drugs is a fairly unhealthy option and should be avoided.
  8. Drug Interaction - If you have been taking any herbal medicines, inform your doctor about it. This is because herbal medicines have certain active principals which can cause drug interactions when taken along with allopathic medications.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad