"Side effects and ADRs"

Difference Between Side Effects and ADRs

Side effects and ADRs are associated with drug use posing serious health consequences. Sometimes the word side effect and ADR are used alternatively but there is a clear difference between them. Side effect is often termed as type A ADR. 

Difference in Definition:

ADR is a noxious and unintended reaction that occurs at a dose used for the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of disease, disorder or syndrome. Sid effect is also an undesirable effect of drug and comes under ADR. Side effects are also termed as type A (augmented) ADR.

Difference in Incidence:

The rate of incidence of side effects is higher among patients when compared with ADR.

Difference in Rate of Mortality and Morbidity:

The risk of death (mortality) in patients is more due to ADR and its rate is less if patient has side effect but morbidity rate is higher "Side effects and ADRs" (© Garrett H. - Fotolia.com)due to side effects.

Difference in Predictability:

It is not possible to predict ADRs (ADR B) but side effects can be easily predicted.

Difference in Mechanism:

The mechanism of ADRs is unknown but there are strong pharmacological basis of side effects.

Difference in Dose Dependence:

The occurrence of side effect is totally dependent upon dose of a drug but probability of ADR is independent of drug dose.

 Difference in Hospitalization:

There is more probability of hospital admission in patients having ADR when compared with side effect.

Difference in Management:

It is easy to treat and manage a side effect as we know the exact mechanism and cause but it is very difficult to manage ADR. Usually the risk of side effects can be minimized by reducing the dose of offending drug but in case of ADR you have to stop the drug.

Difference in Importance:

Side effects could be beneficial but ADR are always dangerous.

Difference in Examples:

Examples of side effects are;

  • Dry cough associated with use of ACEis
  • Hepatic necrosis due to acetaminophen
  • Nephrotoxicity due to amingoglycosdies

Examples of ADR are;

Allergic and hypersensitivity reactions due to antibiotics such as Penicillins, Cephalosporins, sulphonamides and etc.

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