Pharmacological therapy is an integral part of health care delivery. This involves the use of drugs or medications to diagnose, treat, cure and prevent diseases. Drugs can be administered through different routes into the body to cause a desired biological effect that may be physiological or psychological. Medications can be inhaled, swallowed, injected, smoked, inserted, dissolved under the tongue or absorbed via a patch on the skin.
Statistics reveal that almost half of the world population are on at least one medication. This is due to the wide array of diseases that the world is trying to combat. For the world to succeed in this global battle against sicknesses and diseases, the proper use of drugs and medications must be ensured by every individual. The World Health Organization has continually emphasized the need for every country to adopt policies that will ensure the safe and regulated use of medications and drugs by its citizens.
Understanding drug categorization
The ideal practice is for doctors to prescribe every medication for patients. There are some circumstances where the patient may not need to see a doctor for a prescription before taking some drugs, however, it must be done cautiously to prevent unwanted outcomes.
Some people may need to start with some first aid drugs before they get to the hospital for the doctor to review them. Those who have life-long conditions like diabetes and hypertension should visit the hospital for their doctor to review them before going to buy their drugs for the next month.
The two major categories of drugs available globally are prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs.
You need a prescription from a licenced medical doctor (or physician assistant) to purchase prescription drugs. Over-the-counter drugs are drugs that you can purchase directly from the pharmacy without any doctor’s prescription like pain killers, cough mixtures, antidiarrheal and so on.
In some countries, another category of drugs called “behind-the-counter drugs“ are acknowledged in which a licenced pharmacist, and not necessarily a doctor, is allowed to prescribe the drugs that fall into that category.
Wrong drug habits you should stay away from
Notwithstanding the drug categories, it is strongly advocated that every individual should ensure they see a doctor who will diagnose and prescribe the right type and dose of any medication needed at that time.
This advocacy is to curb the rising trend of self-medication among the population, where individuals go ahead to purchase drugs in the pharmacy for their illnesses without first seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and prescription. This wrong approach by many has been proved to do more harm than good for those who indulge in self-medication for themselves or their children.
Other wrong drug or medication habits that are currently being globally advocated against include drug abuse, drug overdosing, and incomplete treatment course. Drug abuse involves the unregulated and unprescribed use of drugs and medications by individuals to satisfy their “perceived” need of those drugs. This habit can be addictive with very debilitating effects on the person’s physical, psychological, social and financial health.
Issues on drug overdosing involves those who take above the prescribed amount of their medications whether accidentally or intentionally. This can be fatal and both medical professionals and patients are advised to be cautious with this. Your doctor is in the best position to determine the right dose you need to take for your ailment. There are some peculiar situations for your doctor to either increase or reduce the normal dosage of your drugs to foster your treatment and recovery.
In addition, children and adults are not expected to consume the same dose of drugs and your doctor can calculate the adequate dosage you or your child will require based on the age or weight of the child.
Finally, not completing the course of medication when treating illnesses is the major contributor of drug resistance, especially with antibiotics. Drug resistance happens when our drugs can no longer kill the microorganisms that are causing the different types of infections. This makes the treatment of several sicknesses very difficult for the doctors and patients.
When you fail to complete taking the drugs your doctor prescribed for you just because you have started “feeling better” gives the microorganisms the opportunity to develop resistance against that particular drug. Ensuring that you complete your drug course is very important even after you are feeling better, unless it is your doctor who tells you to stop the drug.