Monday March 17 2014

Keep off bad drug habits

By Stella Nakakande

We have covered quite a number of topics for the last several months. This week, we summarise some of the bad habits to beat when it comes to taking drugs or medicine.

Taking a double dose
When people miss their medicine, some often believe that in trying to compensate for this missed dose, they should wait until it is time to take the next scheduled dose and take all of them at once.

This is not advised as it means that there is a lot more of the drug than is recommended. The body can only clear a percentage of the huge quantity introduced. This in turn will translate into an increased risk of suffering side-effects.

Missing a dose
It is important to take one’s medicine as advised. Use an alarm if you must, but try not to never miss the medication. Imagine a diabetic forgetting to take their insulin. This can lead to crisis. If it is antibiotics, this increases the chances of the germs becoming resistant against the medication.

Discontinuing medicine
This might be because one is simply tired of taking the medicine, they have been overwhelmed by the cost and so many other reasons. But before you even think about it, it is important to talk to one’s pharmacist or doctor.

Taking herbs and modern medicine
People do this with a belief of attacking from all fronts. A plant in its raw state contains so many components, some of them medicinal, some not. In most cases, since these have not been identified, there is a possibility of them negatively affecting the properties of the medicine one is taking.

In fact some people might put the modern medicine on hold as they finish the dose of the herbs and then resume treatment.

Sharing medicine
To try and cut down costs, it is common for a parent to purchase one syrup and treat both their children with it. This is wrong and should ultimately be avoided because they will inevitably be under-dosed be it adults or children. And then that one medication may not be the best option for person A as compared to person B.

Not heeding medical advice
With the internet, people walk into a medical professional’s office with their own diagnosis. “I have a migraine, what can I have for it?” It is good to be aware of one’s health but ultimately the medical professional knows best. If one doubts, seek a second opinion from another learned fellow but the bottom line is, stick to medical recommendations.

Choosing cost over quality
This I cannot fail to emphasise, one should know what is best for them first as opposed to how much it costs.

The writer is a pharmacist