The Dangers Of Self-Medicating
Bona|April 2020
Over-the-counter medication can be bought at any local supermarket or pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. Because of that, there is a common misconception that they are safe for everyone to use. However, these types of drugs can be extremely harmful when abused.
Siya Mahomba

Who has time to consult a doctor for something as seemingly trivial as a cold, when you can just pop a pill and go on with your day? For most people, the medicine cabinet at home or the local pharmacy is the first stop when feeling under the weather. Substances such as cough syrups, pain killers and motion sickness tablets are commonly available for purchase. They are called over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. According to Nkosazana Precious Pono, a pharmacist at the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape, these meds are dangerous when abused, misused or overused.

THE BASIS Also known as non-prescription medication, OTC drugs are mostly used to treat non-life-threatening conditions such as aches and pains, fever, skin disorders, indigestion, heartburn and more. While some of these drugs can be easily found on the shelves of a store or pharmacy, there is a more restricted class of OTC drugs. These are normally kept behind the pharmacy counter and can only be dispensed by an authorised pharmacist or pharmacist’s assistant.

PRESCRIPTION VS NON-PRESCRIPTION

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