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Doctor advises public against self-medication

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A medical expert, Dr Olalekan Omoniyi, on Thursday advised public to refrain from self-medication to avoid complications due to drug misuse and other adverse effects associated with the practice.

Omoniyi, the Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, chapter, Yaba, gave the advice in Lagos.

He told the Nigeria News Agency that when it comes to self-medication, it was potentially an unsafe practice with many risks.

report that self-medication is the use of medications without prior medical consultation regarding indication, dosage and duration of treatment.

Omoniyi listed the risks to include: incorrect diagnosis, delays in seeking medical advice, infrequent, but severe adverse reactions, dangerous drug interaction, incorrect dosage, masking of severe disease and risk of abuse.

According to him, doctors use to assess and ask patients several questions based on patients’ reported symptoms, review them holistically before arriving at a diagnosis and prescriptions.

He said people must know that self-medication was not free of risk, which could increase the burden and out-of-pocket expenses since it might result in adverse health effects that require medical intervention.

“It is surprising that many people do not see any problem with self-medication.

“Research shows that self-medication can lead to adverse reactions and should be avoided at all times. It is risky for non-medical personnel to prescribe medication,” he said.

Omoniyi said people take drugs without doctor’s prescription for a number of reasons.

According to him, while some aim for a reduction in the time and cost of clinical consultation, others simply trivialise illnesses and resort to self-medication.

Other factors listed by Omoniyi could be due to personal insecurities and fear of job loss due to diagnosed disease, mental illness, quick relief of pain, depression or even ignorance.

“It has been observed that many people rely on their own previous experiences, or their choices based on the recommendations from friends to resort to self-medication than to seek a proper diagnosis.

“If the patient’s diagnosis of their condition is incorrect, their consequential drug selection may aggravate their condition, or even cause additional problems that may make subsequent medical intervention problematic.

“Self-medication may seems right at first, but one needs to consider the potential side effects of such uninformed actions.

“Self-medication can cause allergy, habituation, worsening of ailment, or even disability and pre-mature death,” the expert said.

He expressed concern over the action of some pharmacists who encouraged and promotes self-medication because of the desire to make sales and profit.

“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 pharmacist is charged with the duty of dispensing drugs. It is the doctor who prescribes these drugs,” he told .

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