Self-medication which is ingestion and intake of drugs without prescription from a qualified medical doctor has been described as a prevalent dangerous trend.
This was the view of Dr. Victor Nwabudike, a Consultant Family Dentist during a chat recently, saying these medicines are often referred to as Over The Counter (OTC) or Non-Prescription drugs and are found in pharmacies, supermarkets and other outlets which includes hotels, motor parks and garages.
According to the medical expert, in Nigeria, abundance of these drugs in an open markets without restriction has caused problems for many and the culture of abuse would take time to eradicate.
He said: “These drugs can also be sold by the roadside, on the bus and by hawkers. On the other hand, drugs prescribed by doctors are referred to as prescription products”.
Nwabudike described as surprising that many people still see no problem with self-medication adding, “the question remained, why people would still engage in self-medication despite being aware of the danger it poses to their health?
On the reason people still self medicate, Dr. Nwabudike stressed that taking of drugs without prescription of a doctor occurred for a number of reasons, which include “aiming for a reduction in the time and cost of clinical consultation, simply trivializing illnesses.
“It could also be due to personal insecurities and fear of job loss due to diagnosed diseases, mental illness, quick relief from pain, depression or even ignorance”.
He maintained that administering drugs without the input of a qualified medical doctor posed a lot of danger to the person involved in it and that it is now becoming a dangerous habit amongst majority of Nigerian youths.
“Self-medication might seem right at first, but one needs to consider the potential side effects of such uninformed actions. It can lead to drug addiction, allergy, habituation, worsening of ailment, incorrect diagnosis and dosage, or even disability and pre-mature death.
“This is the reason why people must avoid self-medication at all cost, because it is also a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
“We should not confuse drug abuse and self medication. They are two different experiences. For anybody who wants to get out of the habit of self medication, there are simple steps to be taken and these include, consulting a qualified medical doctor, seeking counsel from a Psychiatric and help from people around, learning from other people’s mistake, attending a rehabilitation programme and self motivation.
“A point to note is that pharmacists also play a huge role in the issue of self medication. In a haste to make a lot of money, some pharmacists encourage people to buy their drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
“In some cases, they even prescribe drugs for their customers. This is wrong because the pharmacist is charged with the duty of dispensing drugs. It is the doctor who prescribes these drugs”.
Dr. Nwabudike advised that governments at various levels and other regulatory bodies should supervise the sale of drugs by wrong people in the country and they should ensure that they confiscate any drug sold on roadsides or by hawkers.