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Perils of self treatment

Perils of self treatment

We wish you a good health and promise to guide you not as a family doctor, but as a family friend on the click of a mouse. The objective is to remove cobwebs of doubt and facilitate better health, correct life style, myths about foods, medicines, tests, interventions etc. we may also counsel on loss of sleep or appetite or loss/gain of weight and other such issues. We may help you in suggesting the type of specialists or treatments to choose and explain the mode of administration of medicines, eye drops, injections and so on.

In this maiden blog we caution you on self medication or self-investigation or taking advice of chemist or a layman, which should be a strict No…No. Advice from a non-doctor regarding medical treatment or gadgets should be avoided. Similarly taking vitamins for strength by a healthy person or use of eye drops in healthy eyes to prevent eye diseases or reducing the power of glasses etc. should be shunned.

Here are some specific problems in India with regard to rampant use of painkillers without medical advice. Analgin , which is banned in several other countries due to its side effect of agranulocytosis; a fatal condition, is virtually sold as Over the Counter (OTC) drug  without prescription. Hence there is misuse and overuse. Analgin does not appear in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). The approved indication of drug in India is “severe pain or pain due to tumor and also for bringing down the temperature in refractory cases when other medicines  fail to do so.” However the product insert of Baralgan-M and Novalgin, the two top selling brands of analgin recommend its use in “severe or resistant pain and fever” and the words “when other medicines fail to do so” have been omitted thus leading to violation of rules. Analgin crosses the placenta and should not be used during pregnancy. Similarly women who are breast feeding must not use the drug.

How many people know this?

Expensive imaging like MRI/CT is not really productive as per an article by March 2015 issue of JAMA, “high prevalence of incidental findings in older adults, imaging soon after initial presentation may lead to a cascade of subsequent interventions that increase costs and risks without benefits,” they note.

So the use of advance imaging tests should be reserved for cases, where specifically essential.


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