Any effective, beneficial result of a medical treatment can be a therapeutic effect. Many of these effects are determined through the utilization of the therapeutic index, which compares the therapeutic effect of a medical treatment with the number of times the same medical treatment produced an undesirable outcome, notably the death of the patient. This concept is an aspect of several different areas of medicine, including pharmacology, surgery, psychotherapy, and alternative medicine.
A therapeutic effect does not necessarily have to come from an expected outcome of treatment. The effect may be purely unintended, but as long as it is desirable and benefits the health of the patient, it can be considered therapeutic. In some instances, a therapeutic effect could be considered a side effect in certain patients. This situation walks the fine line between desired and undesired effects, and the precise characteristics of the condition, treatment, and patient himself is considered when making the determination as to whether an effect is therapeutic or otherwise.
It is important to remember that there is no essential difference between a therapeutic and a side effect. They are both consequences of the treatment. Medical experts distinguish the two in order to gauge any and all possible outcomes that can result from the treatment that is undertaken.
When establishing therapeutic effect in a patient, a variety of variables are taken into account by caregivers. A thorough understanding of the nature of the treatment and the qualities of the illness are the first steps to utilizing a treatment plan with a therapeutic effect. In many instances, especially in cases of serious diseases, the treatment may only be effective when it is implemented alongside other forms of treatment. Considering the unique needs of every patient and the severity of his or her illness, these variables make it difficult to determine a quintessential therapeutic effect for a specific treatment.
Traditionally, the pharmaceutical industry has utilized this concept more than any other facet of the health care world. The testing processes in place for modern prescription drugs are highly meticulous, and researchers attempt to ensure that all bases have been covered when a drug is still in the testing phase. This includes painstaking analyses of the drug utilizing conclusions drawn from placebo treatments, clinical trials, and scientific data. After such precise testing, many drugs are highly touted for their therapeutic effects. This also serves as a beneficial marketing approach for making sure the drug reaches as many patients as possible.