Do you often take medicines without consulting your doctor?
To do away with the hassle of visiting a doctor, most of us pop pills for minor ailments without having a prescription from a doctor. These medications taken in the absence of medical supervision are known as self-medications. Flu, fever, headache and acidity are the most common maladies that give rein to self medication. According to a recent survey, fifty two percent of Indians do self-medication of themselves, friends and relatives in the interest of saving time and doctor’s fees. Though several benefits like increased access to medication and relief for the patient have been linked to appropriate self-medication, the health risks far outweigh its benefits. Self-medication is far from being a completely safe practice.
The potential dangers include:
- Antibiotics are among the most commonly bought OTC drugs. It’s not uncommon to use leftover antibiotics from previous treatments or getting them from pharmacy without a prescription. Taking antibiotics irresponsibly could contribute to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one of the world’s most pressing health problems.
- Proton pump inhibitors are a group of medicines used for the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. Though they relieve the symptoms, long term use of these medicines can lead to dangerous nutritional deficiencies and raise the risk of infections.
- Injudicious use of analgesics for pain and fever can lead to kidney diseases and stomach ulcers in the long run.
- There are other risks associated with self-medication of fever and headache. Sometimes, it could be a missed diagnosis due to masking of symptoms of a more serious disease. This would delay a timely medical advice and treatment.
- OTC medicines could cause allergy, habituation, and addiction.
We often avoid the cost and turmoil of visiting a doctor and use over-the-counter medicines to relive the symptoms of common illnesses. But, the dangerous chances of self-medication are just not worth the risks. It is always better to consult your doctor if you have the simple yet similar symptoms for a long time. Getting a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan is the best way to avoid side-effect, complications or health risks.