Over-the-counter drugs are drugs that can be purchased without a doctor's prescription. These drugs are generally used to relieve certain symptoms. However, consumption Over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous if misused or consumed not according to the instructions for use.
Drugs without a doctor's prescription consist of over-the-counter drugs and limited over-the-counter drugs, both of which are types of drug categories that are sold over the counter and can be obtained directly without a doctor's prescription.
Over-the-counter drugs have a special mark on the packaging, which is a green circle and a black border. These drugs are sold freely in all outlets, including warungs and supermarkets. As for over-the-counter drugs, they have a blue circle symbol with a black border, and are accompanied by a warning label on the packaging, these drugs are usually sold in pharmacies and licensed drugstores.
Not haphazardly, all medicinal products with or without a doctor's prescription circulating in the market should have been officially registered with BPOM (Food and Drug Supervisory Agency) with a distribution permit. Drugs that are suitable for use have gone through the stages of evaluation and clinical trials by BPOM.
The Purpose and Benefits of Using Over-the-counter Medicines Without a Doctor
Generally, over-the-counter and over-the-counter drugs are limited to only treating mild symptoms that do not require consulting a doctor, such as to reduce fever or reduce pain and itching. However, this drug without a doctor's prescription does not treat the main disease that is the cause of the complaint.
Compared to over-the-counter medications, over-the-counter medications tend to be less effective at treating symptoms, so sometimes it may take longer to get the desired effect. Most over-the-counter drugs also have different effectiveness and dosage forms from prescription drugs.
Risks of taking over-the-counter drugs without consulting a doctor
In overcoming minor complaints, over-the-counter drugs are quite safe to use. However, there are some risks of using over-the-counter drugs without consulting a doctor that you need to know:
- The use of over-the-counter drugs is not in accordance with the diseaseThe use of over-the-counter drugs to relieve symptoms does not necessarily make the patient fully recovered from the illness. Without a complete medical examination from a doctor, the use of over-the-counter drugs may not match the diagnosis of the disease.
- The risk of side effects of over-the-counter drugsThe possibility of side effects and complications due to inappropriate use of over-the-counter drugs, or due to certain medical conditions that consumers have. Especially if over-the-counter drugs are consumed beyond the time limit and the recommended usage dose.
- Drug interactions occurThe possibility of drug interactions that can make over-the-counter drugs work less effectively, or even cause adverse effects on the body. This interaction can occur if the way to take medication is not appropriate, for example, over-the-counter drugs are consumed together with prescription drugs or certain supplements and herbal products.
- Incorrect dosageDosage errors, too much or too often using certain drugs can have bad effects on health, such as poisoning and liver damage.
- Not safe for pregnant and lactating womenThe use of over-the-counter drugs without consulting a doctor for pregnant women can harm the fetus in the womb. The use of drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, in pregnant and lactating women must be under the supervision of a doctor.
Therefore, it is important to still consult a doctor before buying over-the-counter drugs to relieve the symptoms you are suffering from. This is to ensure the diagnosis of the disease, and the treatment you are taking according to the right medical indications.
How to Safely Take Medicines without a Doctor's Prescription
Given the various risks of using over-the-counter drugs above, it is advisable to pay close attention to how to take drugs without a doctor's prescription properly in order to anticipate the possible adverse effects. Some of these ways are:
- Check whether over-the-counter drugs that will be consumed can interact with certain drugs, supplements, drinks, or foods. If necessary, record the medications, supplements, and vitamins you regularly take.
- Check whether the packaging contains special warnings or prohibitions for people with certain diseases.
- Read and follow the consumption instructions. Avoid doubling the dose or taking the drug for longer than recommended. In addition, avoid giving adult drugs to children and vice versa.
- Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if anything is unclear about the dosage or instructions for using a medication.
- Note that some medications need to be taken with food, while others are recommended to be taken on an empty stomach.
- Avoid taking the drug at the same time as alcoholic beverages, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Likewise, do not swallow hot drinks, unless the instructions for use recommend so.
- To avoid the risk of overdose, avoid taking it together with other drugs containing active ingredients that
- Observe and note if there is an allergic reaction after taking certain drugs.
- Look at the expiration date of the drug. Throw away the medicine immediately if it is past its expiration date.
Finally, it is important to understand that even if purchased without a doctor's prescription, over-the-counter drugs can actually carry risks if they are not taken according to the right medical indications. Immediately consult a doctor if symptoms do not go away, get worse, or there are allergies and other side effects that interfere with health after taking over-the-counter drugs.