Whenever you fall sick and require some medications, you normally have two choices. If it’s a simple ailment that appears transient, you can always buy over-the-counter medicines to ease off the symptoms. If it’s something more complex, a medical consult is usually required, followed by a formal prescription. Any meds prescribed after a formal medical evaluation should never be shared with anyone else, even when the symptoms appear to be similar.
It is not unusual to come across weal-meaning individuals sharing all sorts of meds, all in the guise of trying to help those with similar conditions. Well that’s usually a big mistake. You see, medical conditions have a tendency to present with overlapping symptoms. You may appear to have similar symptoms, but each of you may be suffering from completely different conditions. Both of you may have been diagnosed with the same condition, but each of you may have different variations of the same ailment. In either of such scenarios, sharing meds that have been prescribed for the other person would be erroneous.
But what could really go wrong if you share another person’s prescription anyway? In the best of scenarios, nothing may happen to you. And you might even appear to get better. But all that is a big gamble. The chance of harming yourself in the process is real. You may experience severe side effects. Your condition may worsen. And in the process, you will unnecessarily delay seeking timely medical evaluation, and appropriate individualized treatment.
It is especially dangerous to share any injectable medications. The potential to experience severe reactions is worse, owing to the rapid action of injectable drugs. Fatal reactions have been known to occur, so be very wary. You also ran the risk of contracting unknown viral infections if also sharing needles.
The individuals sharing their own drugs aren’t spared either. Sharing what was meant to be a full course of antibiotics means you don’t end up with an optimal and curative dose. This may mean the infection progresses into a more chronic phase, with lower chances of cure. You also get predisposed to antibiotic resistance, necessitating the use of more potent and expensive drugs subsequently. Say you are taking blood pressure meds and have shared part of your daily doses, you’ll end up limiting the stability of your blood pressure control. You could end up with acute exacerbations, which at times can be fatal.
Shared prescription meds are no good to anyone. If you get the temptation to share out your own, or to get the odd pill from an acquaintance, best not to do it. Better to get a medical evaluation and a prescription that is individualized to your specific diagnosis. Your clinical response will be optimal with such an approach, and you will veer away from potential harm that may result from shared medications.
Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.firstname.lastname@example.orgTake a fertility test today