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Do Not Self Medicate

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Sep 29, 2020

   7 min     



Self-medication is described as the selection and utilization of medicines by individuals (or a member of the individuals' family) to administer self-recognized or self-diagnosed illnesses or symptoms. A few advantages have been linked to proper self-medication, among them: extended access to medication and comfort for the patient, the dynamic role of the sufferer in his or her own health care, better use of doctors and pharmacologists skills and diminished (or at least optimized) load of governments due to health expense linked to the treatment of trivial health ailments. 

However, self-medication is considerably far from being an entirely safe practice, particularly in the case of non-responsible self-medication. Possible risks of self-medication practices involve:

  • inaccurate self-diagnosis

  • delays in endeavouring medical advice when required

  • incorrect manner of administration

  • improper dosage

  • rare but severe adverse reactions

  • mistaken choice of therapy

  • serious drug interactions

  • masking of critical disease

  • risk of dependency and misuse

The Indian Context

The idea of self-medication is prevailing in most parts of India. The age-old experience takes over from generation to generation, primarily including common drugs for feverheadache, and irregular abdominal pains. Patients involved in self-medication for trivial symptoms to save time and money, mainly in hard to reach regions, which are critically lacking in the satisfactory human health workforce.

Why do People Use Self-Medication?

Modern consumers (patients) prefer to take a more significant role in the subsistence of their own health. They are usually qualified to handle (uncomplicated) chronic and recurrent illnesses (not merely short-term symptoms) after proper medical diagnosis and with only specific professional guidance, e.g. use of topical corticosteroid, histamine H2-receptor blocker, antifungal and oral contraceptive

They are reasonably reluctant to submit to the bother of visiting a doctor for what they exactly feel they can handle for themselves, given sufficient information.

Self-medication is very popular, and several reasons could be identified for it. The urge of self-care, feeling of understanding toward family members in illness, shortage of time, financial limitation, lack of health assistance, unconsciousness, misbeliefs, widespread advertisement and availability of drugs in other than drug stores are liable for the increasing trend of self-medication.

Disadvantages of Self-Medication


  • Failure to attempt proper medical advice immediately

  • Inaccurate self-diagnosis

  • Inadequate or excessive dosage

  • Mistaken choice of therapy

  • Rare but severe adverse effects

  • Failure to recognize distinctive pharmacological risks

  • Failure to acknowledge or self-diagnosis contraindications, warnings and precautions

  • Extremely continued use

  • Risk of dependency and abuse

  • Failure to realize that the same active substance is already being taken under a distinct name

  • Failure to reach current self-medication to the prescribing doctor (dual medication/toxic interaction)

  • Failure to recognize or report unfavourable drug reactions

  • Unreliable route of administration

  • Food and drug interaction

  • Storage in faulty conditions or beyond the urged shelf life.

Prevention of Self-Medication

Since this is converting into a vast prevalent problem in India, it can be restricted for now. There are various ways in which you can limit this, and it all begins with you placing a stop towards getting any medicine without a prescription. With medicine turning into a commercial aspect of daily life, most people do not know the results they are going to be encompassed by. Nevertheless, here are some small methods which can put an end to this habit.

Ways to Stop Self-Medication

There are a number of ways that you can prevent self-medication, and the initial step lies in your hand. You need to quit buying medicines without a prescription and notify people about the cause. However, here are some simple ways you can stop self-medication.

  • Stop purchasing non-prescribed medicines.
  • Create awareness on social media about the purpose.
  • Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of self-medication and alert your surroundings.
  • Drug executives must make it a law for people to avail drugs and medicines only based on prescription.
  • Pharmacists must be tutored on the outcomes of marketing non-prescribed medicines, consumer protection laws and human rights.
  • The topic of self-medication must be added to the students' curriculum.

Role of health professionals

Health experts are one who has a dormant role in anticipating risks of self-medication because he is the one who serves on three main curative aspects of professionalism in his everyday practice: Information, therapeutic consultation and education.

  • Information: Whenever health specialists are prescribing drugs, he should give precise directions and describe what it is prescribed so that it will be suitable for the patient to understand and make his own choices. The provided information should be at the patient's knowledge level so that it will be convenient for them to understand its management.
  • Therapeutic consultation: Insufficiency of therapeutic compliance is a severe problem in both chronic and acute treatments and as such, reveals a poorly-understood or unfinished description of the treatment objectives. If patients are not well-informed, they are unpromising to use the medication rightly. However, if the directions for usage and the constraints of a given drug are explained, for example, dosage, frequency of dose, treatment plan, how to get it, etc., then patients have a set of guidelines which will assist them in using the drug accurately, both now and in the future. Improper and irregular self-medication, along with lack of compliance, will only be decreased if patients are acquainted and understand surely why certain advice has been given.
  • Education: Improper self-medication is the outcome of the medical paradigm from which people have learnt. Adequate health education should be given to patients. By continually adopting an educational approach, we can have an impact on large sectors of the community, on people who, in turn, may undeviatingly influence their friends and family. This viewpoint is of special importance with respect to the self-medication of kids by their parents or takes care.

Role of pharmacist

He is one of the pivotal role players in educating his consumers about the proper use of drugs, which are expected for self-medication. For that, significant steps have to be exercised in his training and practice.

Pharmacists play an important role in distinguishing, determining and limiting drug-related problems for the purpose of obtaining optimal patient results and quality of life. Ambulatory based pharmacologists have the opportunity and accountability to foster reliable, appropriate, efficient and cost-effective use of all medications, particularly those therapies patients, are self-selecting. 

Pharmacists should guide their consumers to converse with the physician before accepting any medication by self. Unlike the above role, pharmacologists have the following function as a:

  • Health promoter: As a part of the health-care team, the pharmacologist must engage in health screening to recognise health problems and those at a venture in the community, join in health-promoting campaigns to establish awareness of health issues and disease prevention, render guidance to people to help them make knowledgeable health choices.
  • Communicator: In order to approach the condition of the patient properly the pharmacist must ask the patient vital questions and pass on related knowledge to him or her (e.g. How to use the medicines and how to deal with safety matters).
  • Quality drug supplier: The pharmacologist must assure that the products he/she purchases are from legitimate sources and of good quality.
  • Trainer and supervisor: To accomplish this, the pharmacist must acquire a protocol for a referral to the pharmacist, protocols for society health workers associated with the administration and distribution of medicines.
  • Collaborator: It is compelling that pharmacists acquire quality collaborative relations with the other health care specialists, national professional associations, the pharmaceutical industry, governments (local/national), patients and the general citizens.

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