Covid19: Self Medication Can Be Harmful, Top Doctor Warns

by Zakia Qurashi

SRINAGAR: Amid the third of Covid-19, a dangerous trend has come to the fore, with reports of people increasingly resorting to self-medication. The doctors have warned that it could have dangerous consequences.

Dr M Salim Khan Professor and HOD Community Medicine GMC Srinagar said that people are unnecessarily taking medications. “Whosoever is sick tries to take medicines either by themselves or on advice from chemists. Sometimes, other patients ‘guide’ them to medicines based on their ‘experience’,” Khan said.

The “inappropriate self-medication” could have serious consequences. Dr Khan told this reporter that there is misuse or overuse of drugs like antibiotics and painkillers among the people and excessive use of these medicines can create a lot of problems in the long run. “Excessive use of these antibiotics can lead to ‘antibiotic resistance’. The resistance can, later on, render these antibiotics ineffective against infections,” he said.

Explaining the impact these medicines could have on our body, Dr Khan said that misuse of medicines augments certain diseases. “Use of painkillers can increase blood pressure, causes stomach ulceration, swelling in the body or fluid retention,” he said, adding that overuse of medicines in the long term creates a risk of cancer also.

Khan blamed the easy availability of OTC (over the counter) drugs from chemists for the trend. “There is no restriction on selling the medicine. The majority of these drugs are scheduled drugs which cannot be dispensed without a prescription.”  He said that protocols need to be implemented on the dispensation of drugs. “Except few psychotropic drugs, you can get any medicine over the counter,” he added.

As per reports, Dolo 650, which has become go-to medicine for people during the pandemic has sold over 350 crore tablets since March 2020 registering a turnover of Rs 567 crore. The reports said over 7.5 crore Dolo 650 strips were sold during this period.

Regarding the prevalence of self-medication, Khan said that people feel like they have knowledge about the medicines or the ailments. “They either ask the Google or continue with their old prescriptions and resort to self-medication.”

Khan added “Nothing that has been prescribed shall be taken as nutrition or food. You should only take medicines until the time period prescribed by the doctor.” He further added that no drug is safe. “Even multivitamins for the long run can harm people especially Vitamin A and Vitamin D.”

He implored people to avoid self-medication and urged pharmacies to sell medicines only if the prescriptions are provided.  Meanwhile, the economy has been in a state of shock, the pharma sector is one of the rare sectors which has remained immune from any setbacks, and on the contrary, has continued to grow.


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