Medicine overuse can have serious side effects and sometimes these side effects can be life-threatening. Many over-the-counter medications and supplements can be harmful for health. Normally over the counter medicines are not dangerous if taken in moderation, when you consume them regularly and sometimes even multiple times in a single day, there can be alarming repercussions. For example, if you take painkillers for a long time without breaks, they can harm your kidneys and can damage them permanently. Excessive consumption of antacid can give rise to nausea, vomiting, mood swings and kidney stones. Tests can be done to study the side effects of medicine overuse. Since medicine overuse can harm various organs and tissues in your body, you can have multiple medicine overuse tests such as kidney function test, liver function test, complete hemogram test and even a basic preventive package.
Medicine overuse can have both long-term and short-term effects depending on the strength of the medicine in the period over which you have been taking them. Therefore, whenever you are taking medicines, it is very essential that you take them under professional supervision and make sure that your doctor knows that you are taking these medicines. Medicines are made of powerful ingredients and chemicals and when taken in excess, they can have serious repercussions for your health. When a doctor prescribes you a medicine he or she knows, according to the diagnosis, how much medicine you can take, and the side effects of which medicine your physical disposition can bear.
These days medicines are sold under restrictions but there are many over-the-counter medicines for which you don’t need regular prescription. Sometimes people keep on using the same prescription to purchase medicines repeatedly.
Here are some medicines that people often overuse:
Cough and cold medicines
Motion sickness pills
Most of these medications often don’t require a medical prescription and can be purchased over-the-counter.
Some of the common side effects of these medicines are
Serious side effects may include kidney failure, liver infection, stomach ulcers and respiratory problems.
If you believe that you have been indulging in medicine overuse, then you must get yourself a medicine overuse test. Since overusing medicines is a habit-related problem, there is no direct laboratory test for medicine overuse, but there are many related tests to find out whether overusing medicines have affected your health in a negative way. Your doctor may advise, based on your symptoms, liver function test, a kidney function test, an alkaline phosphate serum test, a urine routine and microscopy, a complete hemogram test, an SGOT/AST test and an SGPT/ALT test. Based on your unique condition, the doctor may even suggest other tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know that I’m indulging in medicine overuse?
Any medication taken without doctor’s prescription or supervision should be considered as medicine overuse. Medicines must be consumed with great care. Hence, if you are taking any medicine your doctor hasn’t prescribed, or prescribed a long time back and you are still taking it, you are indulging in medicine overuse and you must get yourself tested for the probable side effects.
Medicines are supposed to cure; why do they have side effects?
Although medicine may seem to provide temporary relief from the ongoing physical or mental problem, to provide your relief, a medicine often needs to put extra strain on other organs of your body. For example, if you repeatedly take painkillers, it is difficult for the kidneys to process the ingredients of the painkiller. Similarly, if you repeatedly take cough medicines that make you feel dizzy, it taxes your nervous system. When you take medicine, an interaction happens between the ingredients of the medicine and your body. How your body reacts to such an interaction, depends on your physical health. Sometimes, if taken without supervision, medicines can have serious side effects.
Is medicine overuse life-threatening?
In many conditions, it can be. You may be put on dialysis (medically cleaning your kidneys) if your kidneys get permanently damaged due to excessive consumption of painkillers. Some medicines give you high blood pressure and this can lead to anxiety, insomnia and even heart attack. Dizziness caused by cough syrups can make you fall or make you cause an accident when you’re driving. Stomach ulcers can lead to cancer. If you get used to depression medicines and if they are suddenly stopped, you may experience withdrawal symptoms and even go into seizures that can lead to death. Hence, medicine overuse should never be taken lightly, and you should take the necessary tests as soon as you realize that you have been overusing medicines.
What is the difference between prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines?
Prescription medicines are prescribed by a doctor. Normally, pharmacies and chemist shops don’t give you the medicines unless they see the prescription. The doctor prepares the prescription after carefully diagnosing your condition. The doctor also knows if the medication may have a side effect and may advise you to take precautions accordingly. Over-the-counter medicines don’t require a doctor’s prescription. These medicines are supposed to provide you quick relief without the need to visit a doctor., For example, you can purchase an antacid or a paracetamol without a prescription.
What test should I go for if I have been indulging in medicine overuse?
The best approach would be to see a doctor. You may also like to observe your symptoms. Are you feeling dizzy? Are you suddenly constipated? Do you have a strong desire to take your medicines without any need? Do you feel you are getting hypochondriac? Is there swelling in your feet? Is there a pain around your liver area? To be frank, there can be scores of symptoms that can tell you if your medicine overuse is having an adverse effect on your health. Again, the best approach would be to see a doctor and tell him or her about all the medicines you have been taking. He or she will then suggest the appropriate medicine overuse test.