Self-Medication, A Poison That Can Kill You

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“Self-medication is the worst medication.”

Every other day, we come across patients who ask “Dr, can I use the same medicine given by you to my sister having the same condition 1 month ago“? Or “Dr, you gave me the medicine 6 months ago, I started again as I am facing the same condition again but there is no improvement? “Dr, I am taking a painkiller for 10 days but no pain relief?”. These are only a few cases where they at least inform the doctor, about the blunder they made. Most of the cases of self-medication go uninformed and unnoticed, and the doctors are left to blindly guess the cause of the problem.

“The value of a jewel can only be assessed by a jeweler, similarly, the medication can only be assessed by a medical doctor or a pharmacist.”

Don’t ruin the value of medicines by past or family experiences. Medicines prescribed by a doctor to treat any medical condition are only after a proper assessment of a patient. There are different factors that are used before prescribing any medicine includes age, weight, physical examination. Many prescriptions are based on laboratory or radiological investigations.

Condition is variable from person to person. Some medicines may be life-saving to one but they can be life-threatening to others. The major risk in self-medication is because of incorrect diagnosis, improper dosage, drug interactions, and adverse reactions.

So, the idea of self-medication even for a common problem can lead to so many complications.

Medicine and their hazards

Many medicines are in common practice, used by common people without prescription which results in a hazardous effect on their health

Read more about the harms of Self-medication

1. Painkillers

There are many pain killers available in the market. But the nature of pain is variable. Paracetamol is the commonest medicine used in self-medication from children to old age. But you are unaware of this that useful medicine can damage your liver with improper dosing. Another category of analgesics that is commonly used is NSAIDS, long-term and uneven use of these drugs can lead to severe gastric ulcers and even can lead to chronic renal failure.

2. Antibiotics

50% of total antibiotics are used as self-medication. Antibiotics treat various types of infection in the body against target organisms but without knowing, with no awareness, the usage of antibiotics makes your body antibiotic-resistant and in the future, this antibiotic will never be effective for you.

3. Sleeping Pills

Stress, anxiety, depression make an individual sleepless which affects the quality of his life and he’s forced to take sleeping pills even without discussing with the doctor. Excessive use of sleeping pills makes sleep worse, and he becomes more dependent and rather than solving his problem, it makes his life miserable and in the long-term, it can affect his liver and kidneys as well.

4. Antihistamines

It is another common medicine used as self-medication. Although it is safe for adults to take however in children and old age, it may be risky because the improper dosage of it makes them more drowsy. Some antihistamines are not allowed to take in some medical conditions like heart disease, thyroid disease, which a common man doesn’t know and definitely should consult from a medical person without using. You can consult any specialist doctors in any city of Pakistan through Marham and can also book confirmed appointments.

5. Cough-suppressants

There is a common practice among common people that they use cough syrups for relaxation in cough but they don’t know that cough and cold products have not shown to be effective in people younger than 6 years of age until and unless specified by a doctor. These medicines are also used by many mothers to make a child sleepy but they are not aware of how they can cause serious side effects to them.


Socioeconomic culture, personal traits, and the healthcare system play an important role in self-medication. The major factor which increases the usage of self-medication in Pakistan is easy access to medicines. More than half of all medicines sold in Pakistan are without prescription. Painkillers, antibiotics, anti-allergy, sleeping pills, cough suppressants are readily available without a prescription. Other factors that affect equally, in increasing the rate of self-medication lack of healthcare knowledge, excessive marketing, inadequate enforcement of regulatory policies, poor accessibility to healthcare providers, and lack of public healthcare facilities.

Both doctors and government can play a very positive role in eradicating self-medication, and the government should update the list of drugs that should not be given without any medical prescription which will help us to prevent self-medication.

Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with the top general physicians in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.

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Sania Farrukh


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