By Dr. RAIES AHMAD
What Is Self Medication ?
It is a human behavior in which an individual uses a substance for any ailment without a doctor’s consultation or prescription. Self medication has many forms such as self-medication using caffeine, self-medication using alcohol, and self medicating with food. Self-medication does not necessarily mean purchasing non prescribed medicines, but it also refers to self medicating oneself over food or any other substance.
According to W.H.O, Self-medication is utilization of drugs to treat self-diagnosed symptoms or disease, irregular or continous use of prescribed drugs for repeated or chronic disorders or symptoms.
Self Medication involve acquiring medicines without a prescription, resubmitting old prescription to purchase medicines, sharing medicines with relatives and friends, using left over medicine, failing to comply with the professional prescription either by prolonging in or stopping it. There can be various reasons which may compel a person to opt for self medication like saves time, saves money, no trust on prescriber, past experience, avoids hassles, minor illness etc.
Most common drugs used for self medication are pain killers, antipyretics, antibiotics, gastrointestinal drugs, respiratory drugs, anti hypertensives, thyroxine, tonics, anti-diabetics, anti-allergics etc. Such drugs are used for various common ailments like headache, fever, backache, trauma pain, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, stomach pain, constipation, cough, breathlessness, common cold, sore throat etc.
Factors Influencing Self Medication :
Patient satisfaction with health care providers
Cost of the drugs
Common sources of advice on Self Medication :
Television, Radio, Newspaper advertisements
Dangers of Self Medication :
Adverse drug reactions
Inaccurate dosage that may lead to accidental overdose
Masking the side effects of serious conditions
Delaying medical advice
Risk of abuse
Self Medication can be minimized or stopped by :
Awareness and Education
Proper statutory drug control to ensure that drugs are supplied by a chemist on valid prescription only
Strategies to make receiving health care easier
Strict rules regarding pharmaceutical advertisings
Stop Self Medication, you are treating just symptoms not a disease
Dr. Raies Ahmad, HOD at KTC Hospital & Research Centre, Kashmir, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org