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How does the FDA check the safety of medications?

When you are prescribed a medication by a doctor in Pennsylvania, you probably trust that the medication will help you and not cause you further harm. It is in the nature of our government that drugs are carefully screened before you can get your hands on them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for this drug screening and approval process.

The FDA is the watchdog for medications. This includes prescription and over-the-counter options. The FDA ensures a few things about a medication before it is released to the public. These include that the medication offers health benefits that outweigh the risks of taking it. It is common knowledge that some medications produce side effects, but the FDA is looking to ensure that these side effects are less harmful to you than it would be to not take the medication at all.

Another thing the FDA looks for is that the medication works as intended. It wants to be sure that claims made by the manufacturer are factual. Finally, the FDA confirms dosage and usage instructions.

To determine these things, the FDA requires that all drugs go through rigorous testing. Testing is done first on animals and in laboratories. The second round of clinical testing is done on people through clinical trials. Once the testing results are compiled, an independent board reviews them. This board is not a part of the FDA.

The drug is approved for specific usage and must state risks and side effects clearly. Even with approval, there is no guarantee that any medication is 100 percent safe. This information is for education purposes only and is not legal advice.

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