Self-Medicating with Others’ Prescription Medicine is Risky

The old adage, ‘sharing is caring’, does not hold true when it comes to medicine, City of Ekurhuleni’s health practitioners and pharmacists have warned. This follows a noticeable number of patients recorded at the city’s healthcare facilities self-medicating on medicine not prescribed for them.

“We have seen a growing number of patients self-medicating by taking medicine that was prescribed by health professionals for a friend or family member. This often occurs when a patient stops taking the medicine as soon as they start feeling better, then storing it,” said Ekurhuleni’s Chief Pharmacist Mpho Mashego.

As the world celebrates World Antibiotic Awareness Month from 18 to 24 November. The City of Ekurhuleni takes the opportunity to raise awareness on steps everyone can take to improve the use of antibiotics.

The awareness week is to also shed light on antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria in the body changes in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs to cure or prevent infections.

Ekurhuleni’s Chief Pharmacist explains further that the continuous use of antibiotics is one of the factors that can cause resistance. This can have a long lasting negative effect on one’s health, especially when antibiotic treatment is required but does not work.

Some of the health tips shared by the pharmacist to avoid drug-resistant infections include: 

  • Do not take antibiotics if not prescribed by a health professional
  • Complete treatment exactly as instructed by your healthcare professional.
  • Continue taking your medicine even if you feel better, and do not save any antibiotics for future use.
  • Do not take someone else’s antibiotics because different kinds of antibiotics treat different types of bacterial infections.
  • Do not take antibiotics for viral infections such as colds, flu, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats (except for those resulting from strep throat) or some ear infections.