| Rokiah Mahmud |
CONSUMING medicines without proper prescription from a doctor or a pharmacist may cause harmful side effects to one’s health, cautioned Dayang Azizan from the Department of Pharmaceuticals Services, Ministry of Health (MoH).
Different doctors or pharmacists may give different prescriptions for the same illness or symptoms. Therefore, one must seek proper medical advice before consuming any non-prescription medicine, Dayang Azizan said during a talk entitled ‘Control Your Disease – Understand Your Medication’.
The event was held at Dewan Al-‘Afiah, MoH building, yesterday in conjunction with the National Campaign Against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2014.
Medical prescriptions given by doctors or pharmacists for an illness may cause varied reactions on different patients’ bodies and they are strongly advised not to share their medicines with others as this may cause health complications such as rashes, itchy skin, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, gastric disorders and many more. If these symptoms worsen, patients must stop consuming those medicines and seek immediate medical treatment, Dayang Azizan elaborated. Patients are also advised not to consume any other medication or supplements without consulting their doctor.
“Often we encounter patients who take other medication besides what they have been prescribed. Some patients will stop taking their prescribed medicines and consume supplements or other non-recommended medicines which they believe would cure their health problems,” she added.
“However, what we do not know is that such medication can cause serious health complications such as hypertension, unstable sugar level, heart failure and so on,” cautioned Dayang Azizan.
“We may easily get influenced by several recommendations or promotions. However, we must give priority to our health and safety. The non-prescription medicines or supplementary medicines may be good for others but not for you,” she noted.
She also suggested that it is important to place medicines in a proper place where it should be kept at a room temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius, covered in a dry and air-tight container. “At the same time, read the label instructions because different medicines require different kinds of storage as some need to be kept in a refrigerator. And most importantly is that the medicine should be kept out of reach of children.
“There are patients who keep their medicine near the window exposing it to sunlight, which can cause damage to it. Some put it on or near electrical appliances which could easily absorb heat or in moist areas such as the bathroom. This will also damage the medicine and one must avoid consuming such medicine.
“Therefore, patients are strongly advised to return it to the Pharmaceutical Services Department and seek new prescription if needed. We, as pharmacists, also emphasise the importance of understanding and following the stated instructions on medication labels.
“One must stop consuming expired medications or those that produce smell, or tablets or capsules that are broken or sticky. These must be returned to the (Pharmaceutical Services) department,” she advised.
Dayang Azizan concluded her speech by advising that it is important for all individuals to understand fully their medication prescription, acknowledge it and follow the instructions. If you forget to take the medicine one day, just don’t double the dose the next day as this may cause dangerous health problems.
The public also needs to practise a healthy lifestyle, maintain their healthy diet, stop smoking and be aware of their medical treatment.
Only by practising a healthy lifestyle in a healthy environment, members of the public indirectly could help the MoH in lowering the increasing number of NCD cases in the country.