It is a common practice in India where people reach out to a nearby drug store and tell the storekeeper their health problems or symptoms and the storekeeper will go ahead and provide medicines for the problem. On most occasions, this doesn’t really end up being bad, but sometimes this can lead to serious health complications.
Once you get to a hospital, you end up spending a lot of money on Doctor fees and for the tests. And finally, the doctor will prescribe medicines based on the test reports. But most of us like shortcuts in life, so we directly end up in a drug store and get the medicines we need without consulting the Doctor. This makes us save a lot of money. Though these medications we directly end up getting at a drug store can temporarily make us feel better, but, there are high chances that the real reason for the health problems might still be thriving and it can become life-threatening at any point in your life. There are many cases where people kept buying medications on their own from drug stores for stomach pain for years and end up being diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.
This is not possible in developed countries like United States, United Kingdom etc.. You would need a prescription from a professional Doctor to purchase medicines. It is practically impossible to sell medicines from a drug store otherwise. Even if the Doctor prescribes an antibiotic, the drug store will give a printed out sheet of all health hazards attached to the drug usage and information on the purpose of the medication, and make the person who purchases the drug to sign the sheet before going ahead with the purchase. Furthermore, you are not supposed to drive a vehicle after taking drugs that induce sleep, it will be considered against the law, and is a fineable offense. But laws in India are not very strong in this respect.
Self Medication is not good
Only when a Doctor meets a patient in person can he know the real health condition of him. Doctors will prescribe medications based on the patients, age, gender, the severity of the disease, immune power, and many other factors. On the other hand, a drug storekeeper or a Doctor who prescribes medications online cannot possibly we aware of these factors.
Normally, a drug storekeeper will give out a paracetamol tablet for fever and cold. In case of severe fever, they go ahead and provide drugs which are used for diseases like malaria and typhoid. Though it can reduce the fever and temperature, it will be lead to severe side effects.
Whenever we take in unwanted medications on a regular basis, it will lead to health effects such as vomiting, urinary infection, stomach ulcer, and problems with bone marrow. You cannot use the same medications which are prescribed for similar symptoms you are going through. This can lead to bigger problems such as allergies, kidney problems, liver problems etc..
When you consult a Doctor for an allergy, he will prescribe certain medications and inform you that those medications can make you feel drowsy and keep you informed about its effect. However, when you take these medications on your own, you may not be aware of this fact and end up driving your vehicle after taking these medications. This can lead to severe accidents and end up threatening your life. This is cited as one of the main reasons for accidents that take place on a regular basis.
We can categorize medications into four different types. Supplements, Antibiotic, Anti-allergic, and Painkillers. When you take in these medications wrongly or excessively it will lead to severe side effects.
For certain health conditions, Doctors will advise using certain drugs for certain time course. But, we most of us stop using these medications as soon the condition or disease is cured. This is wrong, this will not cure the disease, but instead, increase the aggression of the disease. Additionally, it will make the disease-causing microbes to become more immune towards the drugs.
For example, you need to take medications for 6 to 8 months regularly without breaks for Tuberculosis (TB). This is done to destroy the slow growing and newly developed bacteria in its initial phase completely. The disease will definitely relapse into a more aggressive one if you stop the drug in-between. So always take the course medications for the prescribed time duration by a Doctor.
What you should not do
- Many parents will make their kids to drink a little cough syrup if they catch a cough or cold. This is a wrong practice. You can make them drink hot water instead.
- You should not intake supplements and vitamin tablets if you feel weak. Supplements can lead to allergies in some people. Additionally, you should not take supplements without knowing the actual reason for your weakness. Even if you are diagnosed with nutrient deficiency through proper tests, you should look forward to curing it through your food instead of supplements.
- Some people take certain medications just because it makes them sleep better. Regular use of any drug will lead to drug addiction and make you more drug dependent. This is a sure shot way to invite a bigger trouble in the long run.
- If you use emergency medications that are prescribed for certain heart conditions, you should immediately rush to a hospital for further care. You should not keep taking the emergency tablets on a regular basis.
- You should not consume tablets by grinding it into a powder form, or by dissolving it in water.
- Apart from certain medications that can be taken on an empty stomach, other drugs should not be taken on an empty stomach. When you take medications after food, it will subside its side effects to a certain extent.
- Do not consume any drugs after alcohol intake.
What to do with drugs you do not consume?
- Always purchase medications only for the prescribed duration. And use it completely.
- You should not share the medications with your friends or your relatives or your pets. It should not be used as a fertilizer for plants or crops in the soil.
- Syrups and tablets should not be flushed in the toilets or disposed of in a local water body.
- You can seal the medications and drugs in a polythene cover and mention “Medical waste” on top of the cover before disposing of it.