Information for Patients
Most of the time, medicines make our lives better. They reduce aches and pains, fight infections, and control problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But medicines can also cause unwanted reactions.
One problem is interactions, which may occur between
- Two drugs, such as aspirin and blood thinners
- Drugs and food, such as statins and grapefruit
- Drugs and supplements, such as ginkgo and blood thinners
- Drugs and diseases, such as aspirin and peptic ulcers
Interactions can change the actions of one or both drugs. The drugs might not work, or you could get side effects.
Side effects are unwanted effects caused by the drugs. Most are mild, such as a stomach aches or drowsiness, and go away after you stop taking the drug. Others can be more serious.
Drug allergies are another type of reaction. They can be mild or life-threatening. Skin reactions, such as hives and rashes, are the most common type. Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, is more rare.
When you start a new prescription or over-the-counter medication, make sure you understand how to take it correctly. Know which other medications and foods you need to avoid. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
Movement disorders are neurologic conditions that cause problems with movement, such as
- Increased movement that can be voluntary (intentional) or involuntary (unintended)
- Decreased or slow voluntary movement
There are many different movement disorders. Some of the more common types include
- Ataxia, the loss of muscle coordination
- Dystonia, in which involuntary contractions of your muscles cause twisting and repetitive movements. The movements can be painful.
- Huntington's disease, an inherited disease that causes nerve cells in certain parts of the brain to waste away. This includes the nerve cells that help to control voluntary movement.
- Parkinson's disease, which is disorder that slowly gets worse over time. It causes tremors, slowness of movement, and trouble walking.
- Tourette syndrome, a condition which causes people to make sudden twitches, movements, or sounds (tics)
- Tremor and essential tremor, which cause involuntary trembling or shaking movements. The movements may be in one or more parts of your body.
Causes of movement disorders include
- Damage to the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves
- Metabolic disorders
- Stroke and vascular diseases
Treatment varies by disorder. Medicines can cure some disorders. Others get better when an underlying disease is treated. Often, however, there is no cure. In that case, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms and relieve pain.