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Self-medication. What risks and consequences does it involve?

Self-medication. What risks and consequences does it involve?

Pancu Victoria
Family doctor

Self-medication refers to the practice of administering one or more medications on one’s own initiative, without a medical prescription or the recommendation of an accredited healthcare specialist.

Fear of illness leads to the use of a large number of medications obtained without a prescription. When used in the long term, this behavior carries significant risks and implications. Unfortunately, over 70% of the population self-treats, having access to information that is not always used correctly. The most serious issue is that one out of 6 patients consumes antibiotics without a doctor’s recommendation or ends up with complications and adverse reactions due to incorrect administration.

The most commonly used medications:

– Antibiotics

Most often, we refer to penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics. These antibiotics and others belong to the category of treatments for bacterial infections in various locations (throat, tonsils, lungs, urinary, vaginal, enterocolitis) when prescribed by a doctor. However, if they are self-administered, it becomes a completely different problem.

– Analgesics and Anti-inflammatories

These are used for almost any type of pain, whether it’s migraines, headaches, toothaches, abdominal pain, or joint pain. People tend to acquire and self-administer analgesics or anti-inflammatories for even the slightest intensity of pain.

Risks of self-medication:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Administration of excessive medication doses
  • Prolonged duration of administration
  • Interaction between medications
  • Adverse reactions
  • Incorrect choice of therapy
  • Masking of severe diseases by erasing the clinical picture
  • Risk of dependency and abuse
  • Organ toxicity

The risks of irresponsible medication use are concerning due to their implications for our health, not only as individuals but also as a species. Excessive antibiotic consumption has led to the emergence of various drug-resistant bacterial strains. This represents a greater risk than most of us could understand, as a global pandemic resulting from a drug-resistant bacterial strain could be disastrous. It is crucial to remember that a medication powerful enough to cure is also powerful enough to cause harm if not used properly.

Adverse reactions:

  • Skin rashes
  • Moderate to severe headaches
  • Prolonged nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • General weakness
  • Hearing or vision disorders
  • Tachycardia
  • Blood pressure fluctuations
  • Risk of stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Leukopenia
  • Anemia


Self-administration of medication should remind us that although it may have a natural component, it also has an artificial (chemical) component.

Therefore, it is recommended that before administering any medication, one should consult a qualified person for a prescription. Only doctors, who have studied in the field to assess any risk, can issue medical prescriptions.

Therefore, before self-medicating, try to think about the consequences for your body.