Self-medication: good or bad idea?

HEYME student health insurance

Lack of confidence, resources, time… Everyone has their reasons for practicing self-medication and taking drug treatment without consulting a doctor or having the advice of a pharmacist.

Nevertheless, even for minor and common health problems, self-medicating is not necessarily a good solution and can even present a real health hazard.

But what do we mean by self-medication? What are the dangers ? What are the best practices to adopt?

HEYME student health insurance

What is self-medication?

Headache, cold, cough or migraine? If it ever happened to you not to go see the doctor for this kind of benign affections and that you preferred to take an over-the-counter medicine, you practiced self-medication without knowing it!

Self-medication is the act of administering a drug without a medical prescription. The treatment is chosen and dosed by the patient himself without consulting a health professional.

This practice is widespread among students. For financial reasons, many young people prefer to use drugs available in the family pharmacy or seek the advice of a pharmacist rather than going to see a doctor for such a prescription.

Since health expenses are quite expensive and certain drugs are not reimbursed by Social Security, self-treatment remains for some an alternative solution to save time and money, especially when they combine studies and work.

So that your university year passes in the best possible conditions and to guarantee you optimal medical coverage, HEYME offers you the subscription of student mutual insurance from €9.90 per month.

Formulas perfectly adapted to your needs and affordable rates depending on the level of guarantee chosen. By subscribing to the HYEME student supplement, you will not only obtain additional reimbursement of your healthcare costs, but other assistance services and tips to simplify your daily procedures. What are you waiting for to enjoy it?

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Choice of drugs for self-care

In fact, the practice of self-medication mainly concerns analgesics (painkillers). Other drug treatments can also be purchased from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. But if you do not always need to go to the doctor to get these treatments to treat certain conditions, caution is necessary.

Be particularly vigilant with anti-inflammatory drugs containing ibuprofen, with laxatives or antidiarrheals, or with antiviral drugs… As well as with smoking cessation support treatments.

Attention !

Medicines without a prescription or medical prescription do not mean that they are completely risk-free and less dangerous! Before taking any non-prescription treatment, it is essential to read the instructions carefully in order to avoid adverse effects: digestive or skin disorders, heartburn, dizziness, diarrhea, etc.

What about antibiotics?

Treatment with antibiotics can be effective for the rapid treatment of certain conditions, but side effects are observed. This type of medicine causes allergic reactions (rashes and itching) and other undesirable effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea…

Antibiotics also disrupt digestion and the functioning of the intestine and thus destroy the intestinal bacterial or microbial flora in women. It is therefore necessary to respect the prescribed dose and to seek the advice of a pharmacist to avoid any contraindication.

What diseases can be cured by self-medication?

These are generally small seasonal respiratory ailments such as colds, dry coughs, sore throats… And other moderate pain can also be treated with over-the-counter medication: body aches, headaches, stomach aches , fever….

What are the limits and dangers of self-medication?

Self-treatment therefore involves risks and can lead to serious complications for the sick person’s state of health.

Self-medication can expose the patient to strokes or acute cardiovascular events. The dangers of self-medication are generally related to:

  • excessive use of certain medications;
  • non-compliance with the dosage;
  • drug interactions;
  • lack of knowledge of drug substances and their side effects;
  • at the expiry date of the drugs
  • etc

Some patients are particularly exposed and must take infinite precautions to avoid the risks of self-medication, and in particular pregnant women, children, the elderly or people with a chronic pathology.

Is it necessary to consult a doctor when you are on self-medication?

Consultation with a general practitioner or specialist is essential if the symptoms treated by self-medication persist or worsen.

If side effects, adverse reactions or allergic reactions appear, the drug treatment should be stopped immediately and the doctor should be consulted as soon as possible for rapid management of the disease.

Also note that your pharmacist is your main point of contact. If you have the slightest doubt about a drug you are going to buy, the required dosage or the conditions of use of this treatment, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice and advice.

Good practices to adopt for risk-free self-medication

In summary, it is important to remember that the use of drugs without a medical prescription has advantages, but also involves risks that can worsen your state of health.

Here are the good reflexes and advice to take into account for responsible self-medication:

  • Request the opinion of the pharmacist in the event of free purchase of drugs
  • Read the notice carefully
  • Respect the dosage
  • Avoid taking multiple medications simultaneously
  • Avoid giving adult medications to children
  • Etc.

Good to know :

Whether over-the-counter or on the Internet, medicines purchased without a medical prescription in the context of self-medication are not covered by Social Security.

The practice of self-medication over a long period is never advised. A temporary use, without excess and wisely is required!

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