Watch what you are popping

Doctors Thought

GURGAON: Madhu (32) did not know that she had sick-sinus syndrome (abnormal heart rhythms) till she was rushed to the hospital with a low heartbeat. She had collapsed after casually popping a pill for her throat infection.

Doctors warn that self medication in cases of simple cold, stomach ache, loose-motions, etc; prevalent among the younger generation, can not only lead to unknown side effects, but also adds resistive bacteria to the community at large.

The tendency of popping an antibiotic, antipyretic, analgesic or even cough-syrup without a prescribed medication can have severe repercussions.

There have been cases where young patients, especially those who work in night shifts, have cough syrups after their shifts get over, just to get a good sleep. However, what these youngsters do not realize is that these cough and cold syrups have an alcohol base and an overdoze/daily use make them habituated to alcohol. In severe cases, they develop withdrawal symptoms and need medical intervention, explains Dr Ashutosh Shukla, Head Internal Medicine, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon.

On the other hand, Dr Sushum Sharma, HOD, Preventive Healthcare and advisor, Max Hospital, Gurgaon adds that the problem is prevalent more among the educated working group between 25 to 40 years age group.

No chemical substance is 100 per cent free from side-effects. However, with proper diagnosis and limited dosage, the effects can be minimized. The legislation might be in place but there is nobody to keep tab on the OTC drugs. The tendency is predominant with the office goers who prefer self medication than visiting a doctor, asserted the doctor, adding that at times even doctors prescribe certain antibiotics without proper diagnosis which can lead to severe complications.

According to doctors, close to 95 percent diseases starting from upper respiratory tract infections, influenza (common flu) to low grade fever accompanied by body aches to diarrhoea and vomiting (viral enteritis) are caused by virus which take their own time to cure. Also, five per cent of medications are bound to have side-effects but the other 95 per cent can be prevented.

The problems which arise from such incorrect medication can have side effects ranging from malfunctioning or lesser functioning of an organ; have a toxic effect on organs like kidneys and liver; can make the patient dependent like in case of sleeping pills or cough syrups or worst makes the patient resistive which in turn spreads to the society.

The microbe becomes resistant to the regular medicine if not administered in the correct manner which passes on to the community through food and water, etc and hence requires higher order of composition. The other case might be where the microbe is present but is lying dormant. In such cases, without a test it is hard to diagnose, making the dormant microbe resistant to certain drugs, explains a spokesperson from Colombia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.

Dr Sushila Kataria, head of internal medicine, Medanta Medicity agrees with the same and adds:

Earlier, there were cases of resistant microorganisms passed on within a hospital environment. However, the problem has taken bigger dimension and now we have localized resistance in the community/population of a region.

Source: timesofindia dot indiatimes dot com