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Impact of Side Effects on Patient Outcomes

Many medications come with a long list of side effects. While some of these outcomes are more well-known than others, medical professionals must be properly versed in all current and verified side effects of the medications they prescribe. Some side effects may be minor, while others can be life-threatening. Several important factors can influence who experiences side effects and how severe they may be. The use of other medications, dietary supplements, vitamins and existing medical conditions or diseases can also impact the severity or occurrence of side effects.

An online Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner from The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) can prepare graduates to recognize, stay current with and communicate the potential risks and side effects of medications their patients may use. This program develops nurses to implement evidence-based care in a variety of primary care settings while highlighting health promotion and primary care management of severe and stable chronically ill patients.

How Do Drug Companies Establish Side Effects?

Ensuring that medications are safe and effective is typically a long process. The list of side effects accompanying every drug comes from clinical trials with healthy volunteers. The patient documents every symptom, whether they experience the side effect once or multiple times. While it’s not always certain that the symptoms were caused by the medication or by coincidence, it becomes clearer when distributing the medicine to the general population.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) controls drug approvals. It reviews a drug’s efficacy and whether the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks. After testing their medication, a drug company sends a new drug application (NDA) to the FDA. The FDA may require side effects to be recorded after a clinical trial when releasing the medication to the public via safety monitoring. This phase allows for the discovery of side effects not seen in previous clinical trials with volunteers, and monitors can determine the drug’s efficacy over extended periods.

Knowing the total and types of side effects from any medication is challenging. This is due to underreporting and lack of documentation, and some public and healthcare professionals may not report any adverse reactions to medication via a voluntary report. Still, researching and establishing drug side effects is essential, so medical professionals and patients can weigh the benefits of a remedy against the known side effects. With advancements in technology and science, the potential for both short- and long-term side effects can be reduced with personalized medicine to get the proper medication with the correct dosage to the patient the first time. Targeted therapies can reduce the risk of side effects while achieving faster positive outcomes with more accurate diagnoses.

Why Choose The University of Texas at Arlington?

Since concerns about side effects can influence whether or not a patient takes a medication or accepts preventative therapies, nurses need to be aware of and understand the risks of medications while caring for their patients. This online RN to MSN – FNP program equips graduates to take their careers from hospital care to caring for the overall health of their patients at every stage. Students in this program will develop diagnostic, research and clinical skills to excel in the in-demand role of a healthcare treatment provider in various clinical settings. Students can also benefit from a curriculum that combines contemporary nursing theory with hands-on experience.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington’s online Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program.

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