health

Commonly abused drugs in Nigeria

In
Nigeria, many of us grew up (un)-intentionally practicing one form of drug abuse or the other so here’s a quick heads up on a few of them.

 

1.
Paracetamol overdose: The correct way to use paracetamol is for fever and pain in any part of your body.
It has almost no use in inflammation (i.e. the redness and swelling that comes with
wounds) and definitely no use for infection unless fever and pain is one of your symptoms. The maximum dose you should swallow at a time is 1000 mg (that’s two
500 mg paracetamol tablets)
and the maximum you should take in a day(24hours) is 4000 mg (so that’s a maximum 4
times a day (maximum of eight 500 mg tablets).
Sadly, the way some of us take paracetamol has got me worried. Taking as many tablets as you feel can ‘kill’ the headache or pain and taking it as many times as needed is a recipe for overdose. When you overdose on paracetamol, you will increase the risk of damaging your liver. This
will usually not happen overnight or immediately, but over time, your ‘harmless paracetamol’
can become ‘harmful’. Your liver is a super valuable organ, protect it.

Some other people take ‘panadol’ and ‘paracetamol’ and
don’t realize panadol is a brand of paracetamol and should not be taken
together. Others believe every headache they feel needs painkillers, sometimes, you need
sleep, other times food, other times it’s to stop that stressful activity and
rest.
 
1b.
Paracetamol and cold medicine (overdose):
What
most of you don’t know is that almost all brands of cold medicine already
contain paracetamol E.g. the common brand pro-cold, so there’s a tendency to
overdose because many people take both medicines together. Therefore, you have to check
the dosage in your cold/flu medicines before adding more paracetamol to it.
2.
Ampiclox as a contraceptive:
I really cannot understand the origin of this particular
drug abuse myth but many people believe it and use it with that result in mind.
NO!!!, Ampiclox is not a contraceptive, it cannot prevent pregnancy, it is not
designed to. Ampiclox is an anti-bacterial medicine that contains two drugs/;
Ampicillin and Cloxacillin. Both drugs act together to kill bacteria and even though you
really do not want to get pregnant, sperm is not bacteria. Click here for what
you can actually do to prevent pregnancy before or after sex.
3.
Tetracycline and flagyl for diarrhea:
Raise
your hands if you never did this or still do this. Nobody? You can go to
this article to read the correct way to treat diarrhea and find out why abusing
antibiotics for every bout of diarrhea is a bad idea. Abusing tetracycline can destroy normal bacteria in your gut or digestive system leading to even more frequent diarrhea. In addition one important side effect of tetracycline is it causes permanent discoloration of teeth in children younger than 10 years old and can also affect babies of pregnant women who use it frequently during the second and third trimesters. This is why some peolple have permanently dirty yellow, brown or black discoloured and deformed teeth. For drug abusers of metronidazole a.k.a. flagyl, abusing this drug for every episode of diarrhoea leads to high antimicrobial resistance,. In addition, do not drink alcohol while you are taking metronidazole and for at least 3 days after you stop taking it. You may have unpleasant side effects such as fast heartbeats, warmth or redness under your skin, tingly feeling, nausea, and vomiting so you need to stop if you are a frequent user

 

4.
Lexotan or Valium for inducing sleep whenever needed:
If
not that Nigeria is a place where getting these medicines without a
prescription is not as difficult as it should be, I wouldn’t have included it
here. I suspect like me, you were offered Valium by concerned adults for
headache, neck pain, and any thing people feel should be cured with sleep. Valium and Lexotan are two commonly abused drugs in the category of medicines called sedative hypnotics and this
unfortunate free-for-all, anyhow use of these medicines has led many people to suffer from physical or psychological dependence on these drugs.
Physical dependence can affect some people by having a complete lack of normal sleep function without the aid of these medicines. While for some, regular use over a long period of time can also result in tolerance, which means such people have to take larger and larger doses to get the same effects. When regular users stop using these drugs suddenly, they may develop physical withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions, and even death. Likewise when users become psychologically dependent, they feel as if they need the drug to function such that finding and using the drug becomes their main focus in life. And some people end up both physically and psychologically dependent.

Here’s
a lovely poem by Kolawole bukola a student at the Faculty
of Pharmacy OAU that captures the essence of this topic

Drug abuse and misuse.
“It’s just a few more tablets” you say
“Those two I took can’t possibly be enough”
“These people don’t know how I feel” you say
Even if warned against exceeding the dose

Careful, the repercussion may be worse than you think.


It doesn’t matter how fast it works
It may even cost less than the right one
If it’s not designed for that disease
Then it has no two names-Drug Abuse



No matter how high you feel

It’s just temporary
The old feeling will come back
And leave you feeling
More depressed than ever
 
You may be back to your feet in few days
And can’t find any symptoms
So you take them again with no delay
not knowing one day, that judgment will come
 
Drug abuse and misuse may not sound big  
But the effects are better imagined than experienced
Say no to drug abuse and misuse
Follow every instruction to the letter
Your pharmacist is ever ready
And trained to put you through
Or else, the only one to blame is you.
 
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