Am I Really Spending Less With Self-Medication?

Tochukwu Nathaniel

Self-medication is a common occurrence across loads of households in the country. As for why people self-medicate, we don’t need to look too far to understand the cause. The cost of transportation is on the rise, and the cost of feeding is abnormally high, but healthcare, which already used to be pretty high before, is now over the roof. In addition to the current economic challenges, major pharmaceutical giants like GSK and Sanofi have exited the Nigerian market due to harsh economic conditions, which have doubled and, in some cases, even tripled or quadrupled the cost of medications.

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Cost of Inhaler
Cost of Inhaler

A Twitter user @TNath77 posted: I bought my inhaler last year at 2,500; I just purchased the same inhaler at 12,500…what sort of madness is going on in this country?)

However, it’s not just about affordability; there’s also the convenience factor which also plays a key role. I mean, what’s the use of waking up early to battle traffic, only to join another 20 people waiting amidst the heat and cranky nurses to spend 10 minutes with a doctor to simply treat malaria when you could pick up medications from the nearest pharmacy? 


As we strive for convenience-led care amidst the burden of inflated medical expenses, made possible by the current economic climate, the stark reality is that every naira counts! With everybody cutting back on spending and streamlining their budget to meet essential needs, there’s no better time to ask, “Am I really spending less with self-medication?”

Self-medication and its Long-term Impact

Self-medication has become a common practice for Nigerians seeking relief from minor ailments. Many of us turn to over-the-counter remedies, from headaches to stomachaches, to save time and money. 

While self-medication may offer immediate relief, its long-term consequences can be costly. Without proper medical assessment, we run the risk of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. This can result in prolonged suffering and additional healthcare expenses. Moreover, the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard medications further complicates the issue, putting our health and finances at risk.

Here are ten ways self-medication can negatively impact our health and increase our healthcare expense:

10 Disadvantages of self-mediation
10 Disadvantages of self-mediation

1. Self-medication can result in misdiagnosis

Self-diagnosis without proper medical training or diagnostic tools can lead to inaccurate assessments of one’s health condition. This can result in treating symptoms incorrectly or overlooking underlying issues, potentially exacerbating the problem and delaying necessary medical intervention. Without the expertise of healthcare professionals, individuals may misinterpret symptoms. This leads to inappropriate treatment plans that fail to address the root cause of their health concerns.

2. Delayed treatment

Relying on self-medication may cause individuals to postpone seeking professional medical assistance for severe or chronic conditions. Delayed treatment can allow health problems to progress unchecked, leading to complications and poorer outcomes. Instead of addressing health issues promptly, individuals may attempt to self-manage their symptoms. In so doing, they miss out on the opportunity for early intervention and effective management of their condition.

3. Negative drug interactions

Mixing multiple medications without medical supervision can increase the risk of harmful drug interactions. Different medications may interact unpredictably, altering their effectiveness or causing adverse reactions. Without proper oversight, individuals may inadvertently combine medications that interact negatively, potentially leading to serious health consequences. This risk is particularly concerning for individuals with multiple health conditions or those taking a variety of medications simultaneously.

4. Self-medication masks symptoms without treating the ailment

Over-the-counter medications may temporarily relieve symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of the health issue. While this may offer short-term comfort, it can mask the severity of the condition, leading individuals to underestimate the seriousness of their health problems. By focusing solely on symptom relief, self-medication may delay proper diagnosis and treatment, allowing the underlying condition to progress unchecked and potentially leading to complications.

5. Self-medication may lead to an overdose

Without accurate dosage guidance from a healthcare professional, individuals may inadvertently overdose on medications. Overdosing can result in toxic effects on the body, ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications. The absence of proper dosage instructions or medical supervision increases the risk of unintentional overdosing, especially when individuals attempt to self-manage their symptoms without understanding the potential consequences of excessive medication use.

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6. Allergic reactions may occur from self-medication

Self-medication with unfamiliar medications or herbal remedies can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Allergic reactions may manifest as skin rashes, itching, swelling, or more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis. Without prior knowledge of allergic sensitivities or medical supervision, individuals may inadvertently expose themselves to allergens, increasing the risk of adverse reactions. This highlights the importance of professional guidance and allergy testing to identify potential sensitivities before initiating new medications.

7. Antibiotic resistance may result from self-medication

Inappropriate use of antibiotics, such as taking incomplete courses or using them for viral infections, contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance poses a significant public health threat, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of complications. Self-medication with antibiotics without proper diagnosis or prescription encourages the emergence of resistant strains, compromising the effectiveness of these medications for future use. Responsible antibiotic stewardship and adherence to prescribed treatment regimens are essential to mitigate this risk.

8. It may result in organ damage

Some medications, when misused or in excessive doses, can cause harm to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, or heart. Prolonged use of certain drugs or dosage exceeding recommended limits can lead to organ toxicity, impairing their function and potentially causing irreversible damage. Without medical supervision to monitor medication use and assess potential risks, individuals may unknowingly subject themselves to the danger of organ damage, highlighting the importance of professional oversight and adherence to prescribed treatment guidelines.

Drug dependency
Drug dependency

9. Drug dependency

Regular use of certain medications, particularly those with addictive properties such as opioids or benzodiazepines, can lead to dependency or addiction. Dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug and requires increasing doses to achieve the desired effect. Addiction further exacerbates this issue, involving psychological dependence and compulsive drug-seeking behaviour. Without proper medical management and support, individuals may struggle to discontinue medication use, leading to withdrawal symptoms and challenges in achieving recovery.

10. Legal Consequences 

In some cases, self-medication with prescription medications obtained without a valid prescription may constitute illegal drug possession or distribution under local laws. Purchasing prescription drugs from unauthorized sources or sharing medications with others may expose individuals to legal repercussions, including fines, criminal charges, or imprisonment. Ignorance of the law or misconceptions about medication legality does not exempt individuals from legal liability, emphasizing the importance of obtaining medications through legitimate channels and following legal guidelines to avoid legal consequences.

How HealthConnect is Mitigating Self-Medication by Improving Access to Affordable and Quality Healthcare

While getting access to quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare might feel impossible, especially in these tough times, this is not the case.  HealthConnect is changing the game by offering telemedicine as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional healthcare delivery. Now, you can talk to a doctor anytime, anywhere, without worrying about costs. 

Whether you prefer a video call or a toll-free number, HealthConnect makes it easy to get the care you need 24/7.

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HealthConnect offers many ways to save you time and money, with a suite of features designed to provide real value for healthcare with minimal spending. The toll-free call option ensures that individuals can access unlimited toll-free consultations with medical professionals, including mental health experts and clinical psychologists, without worrying about phone charges, while video conferencing allows for face-to-face consultations with healthcare professionals from anywhere with an internet connection. HealthConnect’s virtual booth feature provides a streamlined platform for accessing medical assistance, making the process quick and hassle-free.

One of the standout features of HealthConnect’s Telemedicine Service is its remote patient monitoring capabilities, which allow our care providers to track patients’ health status remotely and intervene proactively when necessary. Furthermore, prescription delivery services ensure that individuals receive the medications they need without the hassle of visiting a pharmacy, saving time and money.

Compared to self-medication, where you’re guessing what’s wrong, HealthConnect gives accurate medical advice from trained professionals. That means no wasted money on treatments that don’t work or worsen things.

HealthConnect is redefining affordable healthcare in Nigeria. With their help, you can care for yourself without breaking the bank. 

So why risk it with self-medication when you can get expert care from HealthConnect?


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