Published On: Tue, Aug 11th, 2015

OTC DRUGS: simple but complex

 
by Toyin Komolafe

In situations of allergies, constipation, cold and flu (influenza), nausea and malaria, the common practice is for individuals to walk into a pharmacy and pick up a doggie bag of colourful drugs purchased on a whim, word of mouth or simply by watching an entertaining television advert!
As simple as Over the Counter (OTC) drugs may seem, OTC medicines can have unpleasant side effects and sometimes have severe consequences on people’s lives and livelihood. Some the maudlin outcomes of drug abuse include side effects as a result of drug-to-drug interactions, food-to-drug interactions, and allergic pushbacks.
For instance,  patients who take Artesunate Amodiaquine Winthrop for the treatment of malaria may risk serious adverse reactions including sleeplessness, hallucination, nightmares, tongue-twisting, high fever, dizziness and in severe cases, liver damage.
Most users do not read the labels and prescriptions closely, and for those who do, they hardly see the potential problems the drug may cause. Some of the resultant problems may be a result of taking too much of such a medication at a time, taking the medication for too long a period of time or  using such medication in the wrong way.
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson was put on more than eight prescription medications, including three powerful narcotic pain killers by his personal physician, which eventually led to his death. Joan Rivers also was said to have died of therapeutic complication with propofol sedation. Jimi Hendrix, the legendary guitarist was said to have died from overdose of sleeping pills and inhalation of vomitus, these are some of notable international figures who died of drug overdose.

 
As much as death rates in Africa countries such as Nigeria are attributed to a lot of social economic factors, the truth is that a considerable percentage of these unexplainable deaths come from unrecommended drug prescriptions.
Hallmark checks reveal that a large number of individuals would rather prefer to patronise patent drug dealers when they notice any ailment in their body rather than visit a hospital. Some consider the financial cost of paying for the service of a qualified doctor, while it is just cheer negligence on the part of others.
“My salary is meagre and we are not being paid regularly so I hardly go to the hospital. I have friends and relatives who are doctors, whenever I notice any health issue, I talk to them over the phone, and they prescribe the drug to use- which I buy from a nearby chemist or pharmacy.” Sade said when she was asked how often she visits the hospital when she has an ailment.
When asked if she has ever had a drug allergy, she replies “When I was young, I used to hallucinate whenever I take anti malaria drugs.”
Lola on the other hand said, “Whenever I have any health issue, I take herbs, sometimes I take lime and tea for malaria. If it is stomach pain, I get drugs from a nearby pharmacy.”
Other people who were asked similar question reveal that they do a lot of Over The Counter (OTC) drugs, even when they have hospital cards. Some said when it is not so severe, such as malaria, they treat it with OTC drugs. The larger percentage of people who were interviewed are educated, this shows that patronising OTC drugs doesn’t necessarily have to do with the educational background or level of exposure of the person, educated people also do this. Although, our checks further reveal there are more cases of patronage amidst uneducated and modestly schooled people.
One of those who have got their fingers severely burnt taking OTC drugs is David Owowanle, an IT Specialist who suffered severe adverse reaction from Artesunate Amodiaquine Winthrop which made him lose sleep for about 5 days, causing him mental problems, hallucination, nightmares, paranoia, tongue-twisting and constant headache among other complaints.
Recounting his ordeal, he said he started the medication on Thursday June 25, 2015 to Saturday 27 June, 2015. He started to react on Sunday June 28, 2015.

 

 
“I couldn’t sleep, from Sunday till Thursday, so I went back to the pharmacy where I bought the drug- to complain. The pharmacist gave me sleeping pills on Thursday July 2, 2015; I used it till Friday night. All through this period I could not sleep.”
He said his condition deteriorated on Friday July 3, 2015.  “It got worst during midnight of Friday July 4, 2015 and I started having terrible nightmares and hallucinations. I was seeing people that I have never met before, and was hearing strange voices. By 4 amon Saturday, I ran out of my room scared because a voice kept shouting in my head, that I should call Nerimayah!!! the other way round.
“The pain and migraine became unbearable so I ran out of the house by 4.20 am that morning to the hospital.”
Owowanle said when the owner of the pharmacy where the drug was dispensed was questioned; he said his reactions to the drug may be due to his physiological make-up, as that would be the first time they would get such a complaint at the pharmacy.  A close look at the prescription of the drug however reveals that one out of every hundred person who takes the drug may suffer from such adverse reactions. Owowanle’s doctor confirmed that he was treated for acute drug reaction.
Dr Agbaeze, a doctor with USAID presently working in rural communities on HIV related cases said “Winthrop itself is not bad. People who react to lumefantrin, which causes abdominal upset, often do well with Winthrop. It all boils down to the fact that there are different body systems which make individuals react differently”
The health care system in the country is in a very pitiable state, every hospital worker including the ward orderlies and domestic staff inclusive, are all seen as qualified to prescribe drugs.
“It is no right to patronise patent drug dealers, most of them are not really certified to dispense drugs. They can combine multiple drugs with drug interactions. Also in a bid to make more profit, they could give them expired drugs,” Agbaeze said.
“People use symptoms like cough, headache and fever to generalise, saying they have malaria, without actually consulting a doctor. Talking too much of such OTC drugs that are not prescribed by a physician have adverse effect on the kidney and liver.”
She relates such acts to ignorance, “Poverty is one of our major problems in Nigeria as many cannot afford going to the hospital. Most of them also grew up to this, they just accept it is a norm because they grew up with their parents telling them to collect drugs from a nearby chemist for any ailment they suffer. I feel it is a mindset and it has to do with upbringing. People who grew in families where they don’t value health may not take going to the hospital seriously.
Dr Agbaeze narrates her personal experience on the field in a rural community in the Eastern part of Nigeria. “I met a woman who said she has been very sick, but she has been patronising a local chemist near her house for months where they have been prescribing several drugs for her, and her condition kept deteriorating.
“Results however showed that she was HIV positive. Amazingly, the woman took the news well, she said she was happy that at least she knows what was wrong with her.
“I also met a patient who didn’t go to the hospital saying she was sure she had spiritual attacks”
She however advised people to visit hospitals, if not, health centers that are usually more affordable.
“There are sicknesses beyond malaria and typhoid. Fever is not synonymous with malaria, it could mean just anything.
“A full container of Flagil is about 1,000 tablets and some pharmacy wouldn’t want to throw that volume of drugs away when it expires, so they still prescribe it to consumers.”
She advised that people should see their doctors when they notice ailments. You can take pain relief like paracetamol when you notice you have a headache in the midnight but if it persists, you shouldn’t take it over again as too much of it can cause damage to the liver.
“Some of these pharmacies could actually be standard but to save cost, they may employ the service of an auxiliary nurse who isn’t qualified. These may jeopardise the health of those who patronise them,” she added.

© 2015, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • MPC set for another policy freeze

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Despite the outcry for lower domestic interest rates, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent as it responds to inflation jitters ahead of the 2019 general elections, say economists. The MPC meeting schedule to hold today, Monday 24th 2018 and Tuesday […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Adeosun: Betrayed by a dysfunctional system (Editorial)

    A fortnight ago, former Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, resigned her position following the report of an investigative panel into allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against her. The allegation had been earlier made by an online newspaper, Premium Times, and the nation was agog with speculations about it. Her resignation has been interpreted by most […]

  • High cost of Nomination Forms: A conspiracy against the youths

    From PETER OKORE, Umuahia Amidst the mixed feelings trailing the high cost of Nomination Forms for interested candidates to participate in the 2019 general elections, there is growing consensus for the electorate should go for credible candidates rather than political parties in order to achieve desired results. This is because since some political parties in the […]

  • Govt bottlenecks still inhibiting agric business– Farmfields CEO

    Mr. Zanau Hassan Maikasuwa is the CEO of Farmfields Agro-allied Services, an agro-allied consulting and supply firm located in Jalingo, Taraba State. He is an ardent agricultural expert and a strong believer of improving agricultural methods for an improved and more rewarding agricultural sector in Nigeria. In this interview with BLESSING PETER, he assessed the […]

  • China and Nigeria’s debt burden

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Experts have raised the alarm over the continued foray of Chinese businesses and massive funds into Nigeria, saying it portend danger for the country. They argued that the nation risk falling into debt trap, joblessness, among other costs, as is being experienced by several Africans countries. Available data indicate that apart from the […]

  • New Banks fight for survival 

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A clutch of new financial institutions are beginning to slowly appear on Nigeria’s banking scene as the once fragile economy wriggles out of a recession that held sway between the middle of 2015 and the second quarter of 2017. The renewed institutional confidence in the economy (which has grown more recently at […]

  • Gov poll: Stalemate in Osun as APC, PDP live to fight another day

    The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the Osun State governorship election inconclusive. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke, had polled 254,698 votes against that of the All Progressives Congress, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254,345 votes. However, due to irregularities which marred the election at some polling units in Ife North, […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Business Hallmark Cover Page for this week

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions

  • Customers fret over Skye Bank’s demise

    By Okey Onyenweaku There was subdued anxiety within the finance circles throughout the weekend over the collapse of Skye Bank plc. The sudden demise of the stricken lender, caught many industry stakeholders napping. However, usually reliable sources confirmed to Business Hallmark that the move had long been anticipated and was carefully managed to protect depositors […]

  • Cover

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions

  • The crash of Nigeria Air

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Nigeria, since the beginning of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, has become a large theatre of the absurd – not that it has ever been a sane country though – and last week, another episode of the drama was ‘screened’ by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Serika, who announced, […]

  • (Editorial) Adeosun: Betrayed by a dysfunctional system

    A fortnight ago, former Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, resigned her position following the report of an investigative panel into allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against her. The allegation had been earlier made by an online newspaper, Premium Times, and the nation was agog with speculations about it. Her resignation has been interpreted by most […]

  • New banks fight for survival 

    By Okey Onyenweaku A clutch of new financial institutions are beginning to slowly appear on Nigeria’s banking scene as the once fragile economy wriggles out of a recession that held sway between the middle of 2015 and the second quarter of 2017. The renewed institutional confidence in the economy (which has grown more recently at […]

  • Why NNPC adopted contractors funding contract

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained why it has resorted to contractor-financing of its pipeline and other facilities development in recent times in the Industry. Delivering the Keynote speech at the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2018) Tuesday in Abuja, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that […]