Adverse effect (medicine)

undesired harmful effect resulting from a medication or other medical intervention

In medicine, an adverse effect is a harmful and undesired effect that results from a therapy like medication, chemotherapy, surgery or other intervention. An adverse effect may be called a "side-effect" (when it is less important than the therapeutic effect).

It may result from an unsuitable or incorrect dosage or procedure (which could be caused by medical error). Some adverse effects happen only at the beginning or a change of a treatment. Medical error was the third most common cause of death in the United States in 2019.[1]

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In many countries, adverse effects have to be reported and researched in clinical trials and included into the patient information accompanying medical devices and drugs for sale to the public. This is called pharmacovigilance.

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  1. "House Bill Establishes Federal Agency Dedicated to Patient Safety". National Patient Safety Board. Retrieved 2023-03-02.