Barbadians, especially those with diabetes and hypertension, have been urged to use medication as prescribed.

That caution has come from Manager of the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), Betty Hunte, and Past President of the Barbados Pharmaceutical Society (BPS), Paul Gibson.

They were speaking against a backdrop of what they described as persons abusing and misusing prescription drugs to the extent that some were no longer effective in treating various ailments.

They sounded this warning during a recent lunch-time lecture at the NCSA’s Belleville, St. Michael headquarters on the topic: Prescription Drugs and You, held as part of Drug Awareness Month activities.

“Often we give some of our medication to a friend, but what you are doing is giving them a drug which was prescribed for a specific purpose for you and not for them, and it may cause untold harm in them,” Mrs. Hunte warned.

She also recounted a personal experience of side effects from using prescribed medication beyond the recommended time.

Mr. Gibson supported the Manager’s views and used the example of persons with diabetes and hypertension feeling the effects of not using prescribed medication properly.

He explained that diabetics who did not take medication as prescribed could put themselves at risk for developing poor kidney function and causing damage to the tissues.

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The pharmacist also warned persons suffering with certain non-communicable diseases against purchasing cold remedies over-the-counter.

“That is a ‘no, no, no’,” he emphasised, noting that some cold medications could result in a reaction if mixed with other medication persons were already taking.

“If you have high blood pressure and you find yourself with a cold, depending on the dose of cold medication, you could send your pressure up,” he cautioned.

Instead, Mr. Gibson advised persons to visit their pharmacist and discuss their symptoms so that the right type of medication could be recommended.

He explained that pharmacists usually kept a patient profile and would be able to see any other medications they were presently taking and know what would have an interaction and what would not.

The Past President of the BPS added that in some instances, it might even be necessary to advise persons to contact their doctor to discuss the best course of treatment.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gibson also sounded the alarm over the high levels of resistance to antibiotics now being seen in Barbados. To counter that situation, he said, doctors would be no longer be using the “heavy hammer to kill the ant”.

Instead, he said, they would be seeking out alternative, phased ways to deal with medical issues.

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