The intake of drugs without prescription from a doctor is the simplest way to define self-medication. These medicines are often referred to as ‘over the counter’ or ‘non-prescription’, and are found in pharmacies, supermarkets and other outlets.

In Nigeria, 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 (Rx products).

It’s surprising that many people see no problem with self-medication but the question remains; why would people engage in self-medication despite being aware of the danger it poses on health?

Why Do People Self-Medicate?

People take drugs without the prescription of a doctor for a number of reasons. While some aim for a reduction in the time and cost of clinical consultation, others simply trivialize illnesses and resort to self-medication. Other factors 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.

What are the Dangers of Self-Medication?

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

Guidelines on How to Stop Self-Medication

  • Consult a doctor
  • Seek help from people around
  • Learn from other people’s mistake
  • Attend a rehab
  • Self-motivation
  • The Pharmacist
  • A point to note is that the pharmacist also plays 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. And in some cases, they even prescribe the 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.

    The Role of Government

    The government and other regulatory bodies should supervise the sale of drugs by the wrong people in the country. They should ensure that they confiscate any drug sold on the roadside or by hawkers.

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