Adverse Events and Side Effects

The difference between side effects and adverse effects

This website is about the side effects of NSAIDs and Rimadyl in particular. But what exactly, are side effects and why are they different from Adverse events?

Merriam-Webster defines Side Effects as:a secondary and usually adverse effect (as of a drug) toxic side effects — called also side reaction.  When searched, Wikipedia serves up the following result: In medicine, an adverse effect is an undesired harmful effect resulting from a medication or other intervention such as surgery.

When reading the definitions on both Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia, one might expect both to be interchangeable, however, based on the information received from the FDA we came to the following distinction between both terms.

People also ask

Why Adverse Effects are different from Side Effects

Adverse events are defined as the occurrence of an unintended effect as the result of a correctly administered drug, a side effect, on the other hand is an unwanted (secondary) effect that comes as the result of taking a drug.

Adverse Events

When taking a medication exactly according to the prescription and something undesired will occur as the result of it, it is called an adverse event.
Adverse events are classified in the following two categories:

  1. Type A. a predictable and dose dependent event, and
  2. Type B. an event that’s not dose related and completely unpredictable in its occurance
READ  What is Rimadyl and when should I use it?

Side Effects

In contrary to adverse events, side effects are commonly expected to happen by the veterinarian and the pet owner is warned to expect certain effects that could happen during the active duration of the medication administered to their pet.

Side effects vs Adverse events, the short list

Side Effects       vs        Adverse Events
Occur Dose independent
Can be Foreseen
Sometimes desired
Often dissolve with time
Are Dose dependent
Always Undesired
Occur Unexpected
Require intervention

Why Rimadyl Side effects instead of Adverse events?

Reading the above one might wonder why on this websites the term Side Effects is used rather than Adverse events. After all, both terms seem to share enough similarities to justify being used  interchangeably.

However, after careful consideration, we decided against using Adverse Event and concentrate on the use of Side Effects because Adverse events usually occur unexpected by the veterinarian and the dog owner. We believe it is impossible that after so many years and so many documented cases veterinarians can no longer claim ignorance regarding the (often serious) effects of Rimadyl.

Within the scope of this website when using the term Side Effects we will use the following definition: Side effects (also called adverse drug reactions) are the unexpected or unintended effects of a drug. Generally, these are not the effects you want to happen

Why do side effects happen?

When your veterinarian prescribes any kind of medication for your dog, it will obviously be to prevent a condition or treating a symptom – in case of Rimadyl, controlling pain will most likely be the reason why.

However, taking a drug – any kind of drug – comes with the risk of experiencing the unexpected or unintended effects of that drug (side effects).

Drugs like NSAIDs are designed to work from inside your dog’s body to be able to perform their task and rely on your pet’s bloodstream as the main method of transportation to reach the area they are supposed to work on, in case of Rimadyl, that is blocking the production of prostaglandin molecules.

Eventually the drug will be discharged by your dog’s body but before that it can cause other, sometimes serious, effects such as being the source of gastric ulcer, liver and/or kidney damage.

Do side effects always happen?

NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they come with a long list of side effects, effects that sometimes can even lead to the dogs death.

Notwithstanding the many cases of dog owners reporting losing their dogs to using Rimadyl,  side effects are possible effects: they do not always happen. There are also many dog owners claiming their dogs taking Rimadyl without having serious side effects (that is, side effects serious enough to stop taking the drug).

Furthermore, whether these side effects will happen or not differs from case to case, because different dog breeds – or dogs within the same breed – can react differently to NSAIDs.

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