Overdose of Medication Major Health Issue

Overdose of Medication Major Health IssueOverdose of Medication Major Health Issue

Misuse and abuse of medication is one of the leading problems in the national health sector. This has also given rise to other health issues, including organ damage, failure and transplantation. In many cases, overdose of medication has led to fatalities, said Dr. Talat Ghane, head of the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Commonly abused medicines are non-narcotic pain killers, antipyretics and anti-rheumatic drugs followed by psychiatric medications such as anti-epileptic and sleeping pills.

Last year (ended March 20), 778 people died of medication poisoning, whereas this number was 551 in 2010, IRNA reported.

“Unfortunately, many instances of drug poisoning are due to negligence, and most victims of inadvertent over dosage are children, elders or those with visual impairment.

Accidental overdose also results when a young child or an adult with impaired mental or visual abilities swallows medication left within their easy grasp.

An adult (especially seniors or people taking several medications in a day) can mistakenly ingest wrong medication or take the wrong dosage. Deliberate overdose is for a desired effect, either to get “high or to harm oneself.”

Over prescription of drugs has adverse impact on health. Generally, in an overdose, the effects of the drug may be a heightened level of the therapeutic effects seen with regular use. In overdose, side effects become more pronounced, and other effects can take place, which would not occur in normal use.

 Risks to Organs

Large overdoses of some medications cause only minimal effects, while smaller overdoses of other medications can cause severe effects, and possibly even death. A single dose of some medications can be lethal to a young child. Some overdoses may worsen a person’s chronic disease, Ghane said.

Drug abuse can lead to a variety of problems, for instance it can cause breathing to slow, block air from entering the lungs, exacerbate asthma symptoms or in severe cases cause the brain to stop functioning.

Some drugs may cause kidney damage or failure, either directly or indirectly from severe increase in body temperature and muscle breakdown.

 Chronic use of drugs such as inhalants and steroids, may also lead to significant damage to the liver.

Pointing to the increasing trend of “drug intoxication” in the country, Ghane called for  effectively raising public awareness and education to bring to the attention of both families and physicians the issue of preventing, treating and dealing with drug poisoning.