Iatrogenic disease is caused by medical treatment and the more potent and effective remedies we have, the more complications and side effects we get.

Every doctor who prescribes for a patient has to weigh the good effects from his treatment against the likely bad effects.

In most cases, the side effects are rare, so he can prescribe with little risk to his patient.

Sometimes the doctor may be aware of the risks of side effects, yet his patient may be blissfully unaware.

I do not advocate telling every patient about every side effect or the secondary anxiety we cause may be worse than the complaint for which the patient originally consulted us or he might refuse to take the medication and suffer severely from the disease because of fear of rare side effects.

Potent cortisone creams and ointments are freely prescribed for many skin conditions and, if not emptied, the tubes lie around in the cupboard and are often self-prescribed for any subsequent rash.

These strong cortisones should not be used on the face. It has been known since 1972 that they can convert a minor facial rash into a separate condition known as peri-oral dermatitis.


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