The intake of drugs without prescription from a doctor is the simplest way to define self-medication. These medicines are often referred to as ‘over the counter’ or ‘non-prescription’, and are found in pharmacies, supermarkets and other outlets.

In Nigeria, these drugs can also be sold by the roadside, on the bus and by hawkers. On the other hand, drugs prescribed by doctors are referred to as prescription products (Rx products).

It’s surprising that many people see no problem with self-medication but the question remains; why would people engage in self-medication despite being aware of the danger it poses on health?

Why Do People Self-Medicate?

People take drugs without the prescription of a doctor for a number of reasons. While some aim for a reduction in the time and cost of clinical consultation, others simply trivialize illnesses and resort to self-medication. Other factors could be due to personal insecurities and fear of job loss due to diagnosed disease, mental illness, quick relief of pain, depression or even ignorance.

What are the Dangers of Self-Medication?

Self-medication might seem right at first, but one needs to consider the potential side effects of such uninformed actions. Self-medication can lead to drug addiction, allergy, habituation, worsening of ailment, incorrect diagnosis and dosage, or even disability and pre-mature death. This is the reason why people must avoid self-medication at all cost.

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