Rucha Munot,
Student, M. Pharm
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Popping in pills on your own, for the simplest reason like a headache is another trend in the health-care system today. While it costs you very less to buy those pills, eventually it can also cost you your life! It is correctly quoted –‘Health is wealth’, perhaps under-estimated at times by not considering professional advice. Self-medication means self-initiative to self-care by consuming self-prescribed medicines as a treatment for common symptoms such as fever, cold and cough, pain, headache, acidity, diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, throat infections and so on; which is indeed wrong.

Things that we generally see happening around
Fever or headache? “Let me get a painkiller or an analgesic from the nearby pharmacy store”. Suffering from indigestion or acidity? “Get an antacid for me quickly”. Running nose and a sore throat? “I need some lozenges for my throat and some anti-biotic for the cold”. Got a cut or a bleeding wound? “No need of a doctor, an anti-septic will clean the wound; later applying a Band-Aid or dressing will definitely work!” Feeling weak and tired? “Glucose powders or ready-to-use energy drinks is the best option”.
This gives rise to a concern that- how rational, effective, useful, safe and most importantly how correct is the use of such medications without consulting a doctor and ignoring the seriousness of the condition?

The real worry
Home remedies for treating the early symptoms might be acceptable, but using it over and over can worsen the situation! What if the cause of fever and headache is some viral condition? What if the throat is bad due to some infection? What if the person who has a bleeding wound and is diabetic too, which can cause severe complications? You never know the root cause right?

What is stimulating this self-medication act?

  • Self-medication can be seen as a sense of independence, implying rights to treat oneself without the help of a physician.
  • Exemption from medical treatment and ignorant behaviour can be counted as one of the reason.
  • An attempt to reduce the healthcare cost seems to be yet another benefit.
  • Increase of access through improved technology has also majorly contributed to self-medication.

What needs to be done?

One thing to realize here is treasuring your health is far more important than any other kind of treasure! It is always better to consult a doctor instead of taking medicines for a longer duration without knowing the actual cause of the disease. Go to your physician first when you feel unwell, that will be a wise choice all-time! It is also the duty of all the pharmacists to create this awareness amongst the people relying on non-prescription drugs. People themselves, on the other hand, need to stop risking their lives by doing so!