Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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What does my doctor mean when she says that the drug I'm supposed to take for back pain has tolerable side effects?

Physicians and pharmacists know that every drug prescribed (and even over-the-counter medications that can be taken without a prescription) has both benefits and side effects. Some side effects are barely noticeable. We say these are tolerable. Others can cause a wide range of symptoms (e.g., itching, headaches, difficulty breathing, loss of sex drive) that are considered intolerable -- the affected patient is either unable or unwilling to suffer those effects. The goal is to give the patient maximum benefit of the drug with the least amount of side effects. Sometimes medications are given in a standard dose, the effects are observed, and then the dosage and frequency (how often you take it) are tweaked a bit until you get the best response possible for that medication. Pain relief is usually the main goal. Providing pain relief without affecting function and quality of life because of adverse side effects is the challenge. Often, it's a wait-and-see approach to pain control knowing that every drug has its benefits and side effects that will become more apparent over time.


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*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

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