Dangers of Over the Counter Medication – Self Medication can Kill You

Popping pills without a doctor’s prescription – this is one of the most common practices among people. Right from a minor headache to fever, cough, and colds, we head to a chemist without bothering to get in touch with a doctor.

Self-medication, even for minor ailments, may lead to severe medical complications. In India, large number of potent including cough remedies, antibiotics, pain relievers, anti-allergies, laxatives, antacids and vitamins are sold over-the-counter (OTC)?

Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the fact that self-medication with OTC medicines and syrups may lead to allergy, addiction, and habituation.

Did you know?

Excessive use of vitamins can lead to many problems such as hypervitaminosis, also referred to as vitamin poisoning.

One of the most common problems in India is ‘antimicrobial resistance’. The major reason behind this is availability of antibiotics without a prescription.

Understanding Dangers of Self-medication

Misdiagnosing the Illness

Many of us feel that an illness can be resolved via investing in a pill available at the local chemist. We don’t even mind paying the price. However, we often feel too lazy to drive to a doctor’s clinic, wait for our turn to come, and explaining our condition. This leads to a lot of health complications. A minor health issue which could be resolved easily with the doctor’s advice may turn into a major health trouble over time. The symptoms may subside temporarily when a pill is popped. However, it would become difficult for a doctor to correctly diagnose and treat later!


It is not easy to believe but you can easily become addicted to over the counter drugs such as pain relievers, antacids, and cough syrups.

Allergic Reactions

Some of the antibiotics including sulpha drugs, penicillin etc. may lead to severe allergic reactions in the body. Sometimes, these could be fatal!!!


Since you are not a medical expert, it is not possible for you to know about the precise dosage of medications that cures a specific illness or prolong recovery. Did you know over-dosage may damage kidneys, liver, and various other organs?


When used for a long time, these may lead to antimicrobial resistance. This makes the antibiotic ineffective in the future.

Health Complications

Painkillers are the most commonly bought medicines over the counter. These pose risk of heart diseases. Analgesics are known to increase risk of stroke in patients with high BP.


Self medication during pregnancy may adversely affect the unborn child. This may result in congenital anomalies as well as birth defects.

There is a difference between self care and self medication. Self-medication involves intake of drugs which may have potential to harm your body. Medical experts feel that that improper use of medications can have adverse impact on health.

Buying over the counter medications for a simple illness without guidance of health care practitioner can land you up in a hospital.


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