A warning was recently sounded by Kagera regional pharmacist, cautioning the public against the growing and worrying trend of using drugs randomly without consulting a medical doctor.
The pharmacist said some people have been buying medicines from pharmacies or medical shops for use without consulting medical doctors, a malpractice that endangers their health.
Though the pharmacist reminded the public on the problem, the government through its Ministry of Health has all along been warning individuals against the worrying trend.
In most cases, random use of medicine occurs under the practice of self-medication. Self-medication is the practice of an individual using available medications or substances to treat self-diagnosed symptoms or conditions.
The traditional definition of self-medication is the taking of drugs, herbs or home remedies on one’s own initiative, or on the advice of another person, without consulting a doctor.
In general, the practice of self-medication applies to any ailment or condition that a person may treat without the help of a healthcare professional. This includes minor injuries or illnesses such as common cold.
The government has been warning the public against the random use of medicines due to its negative consequences to an individual.
The causes of self-medication are numerous. One of the most crucial reasons why self-medication is dangerous is because people often begin misusing it, leading to substance dependency. So while the intention wasn’t abusing the medication, the result is physical and psychological dependence that often occurs unknowingly.
Some individuals resort to self-medication to avoid incurring diagnosis cost and paying for medical consultation fee in hospitals, without taking into consideration the negative consequences of the malpractice.
According to medical experts, taking drugs in a way that hasn’t been recommended by a doctor can be more dangerous than people think.
According to the experts, potential risks of self-medicating serious health conditions include incorrect self-diagnosis, increased risk of drug or supplement interactions, incorrect choice of therapy and risk of dependence and abuse.
They further say self-medication can lead to drug addiction, allergy, habituation, worsening of ailment, or even disability and pre-mature death.
The public needs education on this matter, and the media have a great role to play in this area. The government alone cannot successfully reach the public in all corners of the country.
However, it should be noted that every person must take responsibility of their health, including avoiding self-medicating serious health conditions.