Why is becoming an informed patient important?

New medications can alleviate troubling symptoms, improve your quality of life, cure many acute conditions, reduce disease complications, and even prolong your life. This development is largely the result of a successful pharmaceutical industry, though these impressive advances are partially offset by two important factors. First, nearly half of all patients do not receive optimal treatment. Second, all medications have negative or adverse effects, some very serious. Unfortunately, the process of gaining knowledge and informing patients about these undesirable effects needs to be improved. As a consumer, you have the right to be fully informed about a medication's potential benefits as well as its potential harms.

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