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Self-prescribed drugs can cause serious side effects

Published : 18 Jun 2020 09:50 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 09:19 AM

Many people, worried about possible coronavirus infection, are self-prescribing anti-viral drugs as a measure to fight contamination.

Such unethical practice has put the lives of these people at risk of suffering from multidrug reaction or exposing them to complications of side effects without knowing actual dose of the specific drug.

Based on news published in newspapers, online news portals, social media, radio and television news, many of this group of people are known to preserve drugs like, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Fevipiravir, Remdesivir, Ivermectin, Doxycycline, and Dexamethasone.

Many people have expressed confusion as to which drug is effective against coronavirus.

A section of people are rushing and buying multiple antibiotics as a measure to have advance preparedness in case of any infection.

However, random taking of medicines largely to fight the deadly viral disease Covid-19, may lead to serious side effects, experts said.

An anonymous salesperson of a popular drug store in Mogbazar said about sale of Dexamethasone, "We already have this drug from several companies in the country. Due to the sudden increase in demand, we have also stockpiled more.”

The owner of another pharmacy in Shahbagh said, “I have incurred losses unnecessarily stockpiling Hydroxychloroquine as it is no more in demand. Later, when the corona fight started with Ivermectin, I stockpiled a huge number of the medicine.”

Public health experts are now worried about such a situation. According to them, such random use of drugs can lead to more serious consequences in the treatment of corona virus. The regulatory body of the government should take effective steps in this regard.

Drug experts said Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to treat malaria and arthritis. Using such group of drug on coronavirus has been shown to be more risky than showing success. Remdesivir is used to treat Ebola. Although coronavirus therapy is used experimentally only in patients with complex stages and the success rate is very low.

Fevipiravir is one of many drugs used in the treatment of AIDS. It is also used in the treatment of coronavirus but no major success has been noticed. Ivermectin was used in the treatment of parasitic infection, now it is being used also in various hospitals.

However, there is no definite result of success. Although Ivermectin is a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, it has been used to treat parasitic infections since the 1980. It also plays an active role in the laboratory as a type of antiviral. Bangladesh Medical College Hospital’s Professor Dr Tareq Alam claimed first to have seen success in using the drug to corona patients.

The latest widely discussed Dexamethasone is used as an allergy medicine. Although a study in the United Kingdom has reported partial success in corona virus treatment, though there is a risk of death from its arbitrary use.

Dr Nazrul Islam, ex director of Directorate General of Health Services told Bangladesh Post that “the way people are rushing in pharmacies to buy drugs in the name of corona virus drugs is very dangerous. Quick action must be taken to stop it. Authorities must ensure that no one can collect any medicine from the pharmacy without the advice of a doctor.”

"We have been using steroid drugs like Dexamethasone for a long time to treat some of the most serious illnesses, including asthma and allergies," he said adding, “steroids are given as a last remedy only when no other medication works. It has many types of side effects. It immediately lowers the immune system, exacerbates diabetes, builds up hypertension, causes skin problems, and more. If people buy these drugs without knowing them, then the consequences are nothing but very serious.”

Nazrul Islam said, “In most cases antiviral drugs are not necessary for everyone suffering from coronavirus. Basically, it can be applied in case of shortness of breath. The doctor will determine the matter by examining at the condition of the patient.”

President of Bangladesh Pharmacology Society and Chairman of Pharmacology of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Professor Dr Sayedur Rahman said that another epidemic is going on in the coronavirus epidemic now, that is the epidemic of information. People in particular are now paying close attention to the media. Some pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of this buy doing business of profit making.

Bangladesh Medicine Society Secretary General Professor Ahmedul Kabir said, “No medicine can be sold outside 'over the counter' list without the advice of a doctor. All the drugs that are being talked about in the treatment of corona virus at home and abroad are experimental. So if you do not use these according to the doctor's advice, there will be a big risk.”