Why OTC Drug Abuse Should Not Be Overlooked

Most people think that medications that can be given without a medical prescription are safe for use. Indeed this assumption is correct, but only under one condition; you strictly read and follow the guideline in the drug sheet or on the tins.

However, many people don’t take instructions seriously, being misled by the analogy that if the drug is dangerous, it cannot be sold over-the-counter. The reality is quite different since some of the OTC drugs cause addiction. Addiction can happen quickly. You will think that you are taking the drug simply because you want to, but you are becoming dependent.

Even though over-the-counter drugs seem harmless at first sight, their continuous use poses a threat to your health and will lead to addiction. Furthermore, in some renal, liver, or heart disease, the drug can accumulate and cause toxicity, renal and liver injuries.

Many people are fond of using excessive over-the-counter drugs with a false belief that the drug will work faster. By this, you will end up overdosing yourself. Over-the-counter overdose of acetaminophen is a documented cause of acute and life-threatening fulminant cause of acute liver injury and failure.

On the other hand, use of the over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug causes gastritis and gastro-duodenal ulcers. Ulcers can be debilitating sometimes. Furthermore, they predispose one to cancer of the stomach, gastric outlet obstruction, perforations, and bleeding. Sometimes bleeding is symptomatic and life-threatening, often requiring emergency surgery or medical intervention.

It is thus essential that we use over-the-counter medication when necessary. Always read and follow or the instruction inscribed on the drug tins. Pay careful attention to the expiry dates, contraindications, and side effects, if any. Whenever you feel any abnormal symptom after taking over-the-counter medications, call your physician or visit a nearby health facility for a clinical review and further guidance.

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