Consuming Antidepressants, Antibiotics without consulting doctor can lead to organ failure, warn doctors

Saika Nisar (name changed), 27, started consuming Petril 0.5 mg (a tablet used in the treatment of epilepsy and anxiety disorder) prescribed by her Doctor in 2015 when she lost her brother in an accident. She was advised to take the drug for a month only as she was struggling to sleep and had panic attacks.
Nisar, after a month did not stop consuming medicines, she continued even after the month without consulting a doctor. Later the situation turned ugly for her when she was admitted in SKIMS hospital with severe vomiting and diarrhoea. “After the tragedy, I did not stop medicines. I continued it without consulting a doctor. Whenever I would take the tablet, it would always relax my mind. I became addicted to it. Sometimes, I also had Alprax tablet to get a peaceful sleep,” she said.
Like her, many other people in Kashmir are indulging in self-medication, and are especially consuming antibiotics on their own or continue with the prescription drugs even after completing the course.
A large number of drug outlets are operational in the valley, selling the medicines of unknown companies and people consume them without knowing the consequences of it. Also, people are seen consuming antibiotics on their own which is dangerous and can lead to serious repercussions.
This happens due to easy availability and absence of strict rules, government policies.
The Valley-based doctors express serious concern over the rampant use of antibiotics, self-medication and misuse of prescription drugs in the valley.
DrYasir Ahmad Rather, a Psychiatrist at the Government Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Rainawari, said that self- medication and misuse of prescription drugs can lead to a serious health problem and abuse.
“Lot of people with mental health issues drift into drug addiction because of self-medication. Consuming the antidepressants and other medicines without consulting a doctor can increase the risk of organ failures as well. People should not consume even a tablet without consulting a doctor,” he said.
DrSuhailNaik, a Pediatrician, said that self-medication and misuse of antibiotics are prevalent in valley. “Parents in Kashmir, especially in rural areas, are giving their children multiple-drugs which they get from a local chemists. But they don’t know it will have serious consequences.”
DrNaik, who is also a President of Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said that out of 200 child patients he receives 150 cases who have had consumed multiple drugs without consulting doctors. “Parents visit us with a number of drugs packed in a polythene. They are responsible for their children’s health complications that arise due to self-medication and misuse of antibiotics.”
“There are more such cases that go unnoticed. People use antibiotics without any need. Self-medication worsens the problem. Even for small health issues, people self-prescribe medicines especially antibiotic.”
DrNaik also said that there are no rules to regulate the sale of medicines in the valley. “Even restricted drugs and other medicines from unknown companies are easily available here. The consumption of antibiotics often creates many complications.”
DrIrfanYousuf, a Neurologist at JLNM hospital said that many patients have become antibiotic resistant due to prolonged use of antibiotics.
“Sometimes, a patient doesn’t need antibiotics and painkillers but they still consume without knowing the results. Such people can have a renal failure,” he said.
He also said that even excessive use of vitamins leads to hypervitaminosis (abnormally high storage levels of vitamins, which can be toxic).
“If we prescribe some vitamins to the patients for a month only, they even continue consuming it for 5 or 6 months, when it was required only for a month, this is not good for the patient,” he said.
So to prevent this, the doctor said it is also important to monitor the usage of prescribed medicine.
He said, “Self-medication is contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance among people. Over-the-counter drugs, self-medication, people avoiding consultation of doctors and taking chemist-prescribed medicine are the main concerns.”
As per the doctors, the most common antibiotics that are misused are Azithromycin, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, Ornidazole, Norfloxacin, Levofloxacin, Metronidazole, Ofloxacin, Amoxicillin, and Doxycycline.
“People are often self-prescribing antibiotics for viral fever, respiratory infections, common cough, flu and diarrhea. Also, the side effects of these antibiotics vary. For some patients it may get serious,” said doctors.
Doctors also said that many quacks are active in the market that prescribe antibiotics without knowing their harmful effects.