All drugs, whether bought with a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC), have side effects. Here are some general steps from the Arthritis Foundation that you can take to reduce side effects:
*Take your medicine as prescribed. Follow your doctor’s advice about how much and when to take your medicine. If you’re having problems with the drug, call your doctor. He or she may be able to change your dosage schedule or the type of drug to better suit your needs. Some drug labels warn: “Do not take on an empty stomach,” or “Do not take with food.” Take these warnings seriously. It is necessary to take some drugs with food to reduce stomach upset, but food in the stomach and intestines can make some drugs less effective.
* Be careful of drinking alcohol, which can increase or decrease a drug’s effects. It may be best to reduce your alcohol intake, or to stop altogether.
* Monitor yourself. Know what benefits to expect from the medicine and when they are likely to occur. Find out the possible side effects of the drugs you will be taking and what to do if they occur. Be aware of how your body is reacting to the medicine.
(Source: Arthritis Foundation Medications: Using Them Wisely)