Self medication is the use of medicine to treat self-diagnosed disorders or symptoms. These are medications that can be taken without medical supervision.
Self-medication drugs are usually called “OTC” ( over-the-counter). Doctors prescription are not required and they are found in convenient stores or supermarkets and pharmacies.
Medicines requiring a doctor’s prescription are called prescription drugs, some medicines cannot be sold without the pharmacist seeing the doctor’s prescription.
People, everyday, everywhere reach for self-care product to help them through their health problems. This is being done because this may help them manage their present distress or discomfort, it may be more cost effective or they may feel their situation is not so serious to warrant visiting a doctor.
Aches, pains, cough and cold are just part of our daily life because we leave our comfort zones, we tend to work, the weather too has it reactions on us, so it might not be necessary rushing down to the hospital each time you have sniffles. An important note is how or when you decide when a medical attention is necessary…
Self Medications Benefits
Being your own doctor is really not an option but it isn’t feasible to depend on someone for every health problem. Before self-medication can be done, you simply need to be well informed and to know how to discern between an illness that needs a medical attention and a health condition that can be treated at home.
Health is wealth, self medication is not necessarily an act to be frowned upon,but it requires a high sense of responsibility .
However, self medication is often seen as gaining personal independence from established medicines and it is beneficial as it gives you a greater role in your own health care and it can also be seen as the human right to refuse professional medical treatment. Self-medication offers a stupendous benefit only when faces with non-threatening infections like the common cold or aches.
Self Medication Implications
As there are significant benefits of self medication, there are also some inbuilt implications as well.
Self medication is far from being a completely safe practice, in particular is the case of the irresponsible usage.
Potential risks of self medication practices include :
i) INCORRECT SELF-DIAGNOSIS::– This is a situation whereby a disease is assumed to be another thereby taking medications for the wrong disease and this can indirectly cause more harm.
ii) DANGEROUS DRUGS INTERACTIONS::– If a patient is not responsible enough to read the label on a drug he might not know the possible drugs interaction that may occur while using the drug along with other medications.
iii) INCORRECT MANNERS OF ADMINISTRATION::– This is based on the way the drugs is being used. Most drugs are usually used after meals but there are also drugs before meals. Even for the drugs after meals, some have time duration, some can be 30 minutes after meals or an hour, some can even be when we are about sleeping but because the drugs didn’t pass through those who know about it very well, it is then used in an incorrect manner.
iv) INCORRECT DOSAGE::- This is based on usage or rather dosage, we humans can be so funny that when we give our self the so-called self medication, we take more than expected with the thought of “the more the drugs, the more it works”. This definitely will have its negatives because each drug has its safe limit beyond which it becomes toxic.
Hasty diagnosis :- Having headachedoesn’t mean you should take paracetamol or panadol, you might just be hungry which you will be needing to eat or tired which you we be needing to sleep. Having stomach disturbance doesn’t mean you should take the yellow and red capsule immediately, you might just need to use the toilet. Having body pain doesn’t mean a pain-killer drug is needed immediately, it might just warrant you to use Robb or some other thing of its kind on the part in which pain is felt and relax. Feeling cold doesn’t mean you have malaria, the weather might just be having its negative part on you, hot tea and sleep could just be everything needed. If all these are done and changes are not noticed then you can proceed to using drugs.
vi) MASKING SEVERE DISEASE::– Sometimes,what we assume isn’t what we meet. We assume stomach discomfort and we use the red and yellow capsule not knowing it’s ulcer. Taking wrong medications can worsen the situations.
vii) RISK OF DEPENDENCE AND ABUSE::– Self medications could also lead to misconduct and over usage of the drugs.
In Conclusion, self-medication can facilitate access to medicines and reduce health centers costs but more specific knowledge are needed to evaluate the impact of the medications. The combined effort of industries and regulators must meet the expectations of consumers by providing product which are effective, safe, with complete and relevant information, the content of such information remains a key element in educating consumers in responsible self-medication.
Post written by Tawakalt Onabule