Health Watch — Dangerous Drugs: Unintended Effects

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about drugs that cause dangerous effects. Some illegal drugs are dangerous whenever they’re used. Other drugs have valid medical uses but can be dangerous when abused. Even over-the-counter drugs can cause harm when they’re not taken as directed. There are also cases when common drugs taken exactly as directed cause unintended effects.

For instance, the drug finasteride, which is taken by men for hair growth, affects the results of PSA tests to detect prostate cancer. Dr. Claus Roehrborn, chairman of urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says doctors need to know if patients are taking this drug and adjust their interpretation of the test results so they don’t miss possible cases of prostate cancer due to artificially low test results.



May 2007

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