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Say no to Self Medication

Mar 19, 2021

Self-medication refers to treating oneself with medicines, usually for common health complaints, without taking a doctor's advice or medical supervision. People do this for one-off instances or sometimes for reasonably long periods. This leads to health consequences which are a public health concern for health authorities both in India and globally.  

In a developing country like India with significant discrepancies in healthcare access, self-medication is a widespread practice. A recent systematic review showed that the prevalence of self-medication practices in India was around 53.5%. Minor complaints such as headache, fever, cold, and cough are the common reasons for practicing self-medication.

There are several consequences to self-medicating. Self-medication can sometimes cause bad allergic reactions. Certain medications which are banned from use continue to be sold over the counter. Some medicines, when used regularly over time, can be addictive.  Self-medication, therefore, has the potential to lead to drug abuse.
Often, antibiotics, which should not be sold without a doctor's prescription, are also available over the counter, and people take them without knowing the proper dosages or duration. This misuse contributes to the problem of antibiotic resistance when medications do not work anymore as the pathogens become immune to the antibiotics.
Certain painkillers can have severe side effects like kidney problems if taken without considering the user's medical history.

Self-medication can lead to delay in diagnosis & appropriate treatment of any underlying conditions in the long run. All of these are problems that can stem from self-medication going unchecked.

Hence, as far as possible, people should buy only prescribed medications. Please speak to your doctor before you start any medications for any condition- your doctor should be able to prescribe you a drug that considers your medical history and past reactions. 
Also, using old prescriptions again to purchase medicines or share medicines with relatives or family members increases the problem of self-medication. 
Doctors are more accessible now than ever, with technology playing such a significant role in improving communication. Please reach out to them in person or over the phone for calls or video consultations.

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