Last Updated on December 17, 2022 by The Health Master
Every medication prescribed to a patient by a medical practitioner is always personalized.
We do not simply throw drugs at patients while hoping something will stick and miraculously cure them.
In fact, the first principle in medical ethics is to do no harm, non-maleficence.
I was reviewing a patient during her regular hypertension follow-up when her husband, who had accompanied her, had a terrible bout of coughing.
After completing my patient’s assessment, I asked permission to perform a quick physical examination of her husband.
As I suspected, he was actually having an episode of bronchospasm (narrowing of airways).
Thankfully, his symptoms subsided after he received treatment. Upon further questioning, I discovered that he started experiencing this symptom after he began taking the antihypertensive drug that had been prescribed for his wife.
However, the drug is generally contraindicated in patients with underlying asthma. Luckily, I managed to trace this problem early.
Believe it or not, this is not an isolated case. There are many other instances involving all sorts of classes of medication, some more dangerous than others.
If you are lucky enough, you might only develop a mild adverse reaction – but you cannot depend on luck.
Malaysians in general are generous and kindhearted, we tend to offer aid to people, sometimes without even being asked for it.
But sharing medications is not helping and could even harm people. Medication prescribed for you might be lethal for someone else, even someone with the same illness you have. Therefore, please stop sharing your prescription medicine now!
DR SYED ALHAFIZ SYED HASHIM
Medical Lecturer, Department of Pharmacology, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
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