Drug labels are listing too many side-effects

27th May 2011 - Fine Cut

Medical experts have warned drug companies about the vast amount of side-effect warnings being placed on labels.

New research has suggested that there is an average of 70 listed side-effects on the labels of prescription drugs and this had led to concerns about the safety of the treatment.

Speaking to Science Daily, medicine professor Dr. Jon Duke claimed that the unnecessarily high amount of warnings was putting doctors off prescribing certain drugs.

He said: "Having a high number of side effects on a drug's label should not suggest that the drug is unsafe. In fact, much of this labelling has less to do with true toxicity than with protecting manufacturers from potential lawsuits. 

"Having all these labelled side effects can overwhelm doctors who must weigh the risks and benefits when prescribing a medication."

Duke was the head of a research group who analysed more than 5,600 drug labels during a new study.

According to an article on msnbc.com, the group found that some labels listed over 500 possible side-effects of taking a drug.

The greatest amount of side-effects were listed on anti-depressants, antiviral medications and newer treatments for diseases like restless leg syndrome.

The study was published on Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal.

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