It is our policy at Alexander Road Associates to be available to our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss any reactions they have to medications. Many of the medications approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat brain-based biological disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric illnesses have been determined to be safe. However any prescription medication, over-the-counter medication or nutritional supplement can have side effects.
It is important to remember that most medication side effects are temporary and resolve over time. We will work with you or your child to ensure that the medication that is used to treat your condition is effective and well tolerated. It is important to inform your doctor if you or your child are using any over-the-counter medications or nutritional supplements as they may have unforeseen interactions.
All the medications that are used in psychiatry cross the blood brain barrier (the barrier that prevents large molecules from entering the central nervous system) and have their effect on your brain. Your brain functions as the super computer for your body and is responsible for control of all its functions. Because of this, there is always the potential that a medication can affect any function of your brain and your body. We advise all of our patients to be aware that your medication could cause an unexpected side effect (one that is not described in the FDA approved package information). Most side effects are mild to moderate, are usually experienced during the first several days of taking a medication, and usually resolve within 3 to 4 days.
While most side effects are mild to moderate and resolve over time. We invite all of our patients to call us whenever they have a serious side effect or one that they find disturbing. The most important potential side effect to be aware of is the possibility that you could be allergic to the medication or components of your medication. If you or your child develops signs or symptoms of a rash, hives, swelling or difficulty breathing please contact your doctor immediately.
For more information on allergic reactions please visit WebMD by clicking here:
It is not uncommon that many people experience mild changes in their stomach or intestinal functions. These may cause a decrease in appetite or change in bowel habits. Medications can also change your energy level either increasing or decreasing your energy.
Even medications like stimulants that usually help people to feel more awake and alert can in certain individuals be sedating. Should you experience sedation as a side effect from your medication, you should not drive a car or participate in any activity that is dangerous. Most medications, even when initially sedating, become less so over time, which would allow you to drive your motor vehicle. It is important to remember that over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements can be sedating and it is important to never to operate a motor vehicle when you are impaired in any way.
A serious potential side effect of psychiatric medications is their potential to adversely affect your thought processes. Some individuals may experience difficulty concentrating or thinking. Some medications may cause adverse reactions such as depression or an increase in anxiety. These reactions are possible as any brain function could be affected. In addition to experiencing a change in your emotions, changes in thought processes including perceptions such as hallucinations or delusions may rarely occur. These side effects are very uncommon, however should they occur you should contact your doctor immediately.
Some medications such as anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications have been reported to increase suicidal thinking. Should you or your child experience suicidal thinking you should immediately contact your doctor. For more information on suicide and antidepressants you can visit the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry web page below:
Most medications are well tolerated and any side effects are usually temporary. However it is important to keep in mind that at Alexander Road Associates we wish to be contacted regarding any side effect that you find disturbing. We also wish to be contacted anytime over the first three months that you are on a medication should you develop a new physical symptom. We would like to help you determine if this is the onset of a new physical problem or a possible unusual side effect to your medication.
This general information is a brief overview of the potential kinds of side effects that can occur from your medications. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. The most important take away point is that each person who takes medication is unique and will have their own unique response to their medication.
Your doctor will review with you the usual risks and benefits of the medications at the time of your prescription. You will also be provided medication information. To ensure that you always have access to your medication information we recommend you visit the National Institutes of Health website Medline Plus by clicking below. You then enter the name of your medication into the search box.
For the complete package insert on any medication you can visit the website for the manufacturer or visit the National Library of Medicine site DailyMed at:
Alexander Road Associates Phone: 609-419-0400
707 Alexander Road, Building 2, Suite 202
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Fax# (609) 419-9200