The Risks of Self-Medication

Did you know that self-medication poses risks?

It is becoming easier to get drugs. Either because of lower prices, or because of the wide range of drugs available on the internet. In short, self-medication is the consumption of drugs whose initiative is personal and therefore without any medical intervention.

When we say “without any medical intervention”, we refer to the fact that no health professional intervenes in the diagnosis of the disease, in the prescription or in the supervision of the treatment.

Today, in the society in which we live, this habit is more and more widespread. However, most people are not aware of the risks of self-medication. As well on themselves as on the rest of the population.

However, self-medication can sometimes be practical if it is used to treat minor symptoms such as headaches, fever or a cold, for example. However, this is a habit that should not last because if the symptoms persist, you should consult a doctor.

Among the most used drugs in case of self-medication, we find painkillers and antibiotics.

Analgesics for self-medication:

The available figures on the use of these drugs indicate a massive exposure of the population to analgesics in all age groups  and for a wide range of diseases.

When these drugs are abused, indiscriminately or without medical control, they can cause serious adverse effects related to the digestive system or kidneys. For example, gastric ulcers or hepatic necrosis.

Antibiotics for self-medication:

Antibiotics are solicited in pharmacies by the patients themselves without even an infectious medical diagnosis justifying their use. In other cases, people reuse a package and go to the pharmacy to request a similar mark.

The antibiotics should not be ingested without medical prescription. Indeed, the indiscriminate use of these drugs poses a serious threat to the health of the world’s population.

In addition to these two groups of drugs, others are also consumed in the context of self-medication:

  • Topical antiseptics
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Anti-flu and antitussive
  • Digestive, laxative, antacid and antiflatulent

What is antibiotic resistance?

The antibiotic resistance is a major problem that is present today in the field of health. You may have heard of it before but it is not entirely clear. Moreover, most consumers do not attach great importance to it.

Indeed, the fact that the strains are resistant to antibiotics basically means that  the antibiotic is not effective against the bacterium in question. How does it happen? There are various mechanisms that these microorganisms develop to defend themselves against the effects of drugs.

On the other hand, you certainly think that if this antibiotic is not effective against the bacteria, just take another one and the problem is solved.

This is the current solution. Nevertheless, the problem is that we abuse these antibiotics and  that bacteria that are treated with another drug can also become resistant.

As a result, there are fewer and fewer effective antibiotics against pathogenic bacteria. So we may end up running out of treatment.

The development of new drugs is a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process. For this reason, it is extremely important that you do not use self-medication and always follow the doctor’s advice.

Self-medication: health risks:

Self-medication without medical or pharmaceutical control involves a series of health risks that, in most cases, are unknown to users. Among these risks, we can mention:

  • Toxicity
  • Lack of efficacy because these drugs are used in unspecified situations: a very typical case is the administration of antibacterials to treat viral diseases
  • Addiction or addiction, as is the case with benzodiazepines
  • Concealing serious clinical processes
  • Antibiotic resistance as we already mentioned


If you have any doubts about medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Never take medications that require a prescription without the prescription of a doctor.

Finally, in cases where self-medication takes place with a drug that does not require a prescription, always ask a pharmacist for its correct use.