A colleague, friend or member of the family is experiencing symptoms similar to those for which you were prescribed medication by a physician. Wishing to bring this person relief, you offer some of your medication. Despite your good intentions, sharing your medication is never a good idea.
The public has been relatively well informed on the risks of sharing certain types of medication that can be used for non-therapeutic purposes, such as sleeping pills and narcotics. However, those are not the only medicines that should not be shared. For example, sharing eye drops can transmit an infection. Using antibiotics left over from a previous treatment can mean undergoing an ineffective treatment with medication that has no effect on the new infection, thus delaying the use of the proper medication and increasing the risk of complications.
According to certain studies, it seems that one out of five people (20 percent) have “borrowed” prescription medication from others, and that an estimated 25 percent of them experienced adverse effects resulting from using this medication. In a recent study, researchers wanted to evaluate the risk to which individuals are exposed when they use someone else’s medication. Not only do they not usually have access to the directions for using the product, but they also delay visiting a doctor. And nearly half of those who eventually do seek medical care never admit to their healthcare provider that they have borrowed medication.
Prescription medication is like a toothbrush – you just don’t share it! Your doctor and pharmacist prescribe and recommend these agents based on your medical history, the specifics of your health status, the other medication you may be taking, and personal characteristics such as your weight, allergies, etc. Medication that is safe for you may pose a great danger to a loved one. This is why sharing medication, even when you are just trying to help, is never a good idea. Another effective way to avoid misusing medication is to regularly clean out your medicine cabinet, returning any expired or leftover medication to your pharmacist.