Do not take self Medication.

(Rizwana aziz, Karachi)

Regardless of the ever-increasing number of online pharmacies that offer prescription drugs without a valid Rx, it is never legal to obtain drugs without a prescription. There are several reasons why it is never okay to buy, order, take, or sell prescription drugs without a prescription from a doctor or health care professional:

* Selling prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal.

Dispensing prescription drugs without a prescription is a violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

* Self-prescription is a medically unapproved procedure.

The American Medical Association strongly discourages the practice of self-prescribing among patients. Without a proper prescription, patients risk taking the wrong medication, which can make their condition worse with serious side effects.

* Pharmacies without a prescription sell counterfeit and unapproved drugs.

Online pharmacies that offer over-the-counter drugs often sell drugs that are counterfeit, altered, or not approved by the FDA. This means that these drugs are ineffective, dangerous and unreliable for public use.

* Buying drugs without a prescription causes patients to miss out on proper health care.

Doctors who prescribe drugs to their patients also offer supervision especially for delicate cases. Without a prescription, patients are left to self-monitor their medication intake without proper guidance.

Obtaining or using prescription drugs without a valid Rx can even lead to abuse and addiction. Most people have the misconception that a drug that is marketed as a treatment is safe to consume. Unfortunately, prescription drugs are only safe for the people to whom they have been prescribed. Below are some prescription drugs that are often abused:

Stimulants

Arguably the most popular prescription drugs to abuse, stimulants are often used to treat a number of common disorders such as depression, asthma, obesity, narcolepsy, and ADHD. Stimulants work by increasing brain activity, leading to increased alertness, energy and focus. Common formulations of stimulants include methylphenidate (Ritalin), atomoxetine (Strattera), and dextroamphetamine (Adderall).

Opioids

Opioid receptors, perhaps the most common pain relievers, work by attaching to the spinal cord and brain to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Opioids are often prescribed to treat pain and relieve cough and diarrhea. Commercial versions include meperidine (Demerol), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin).

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

CNS depressants are prescribed to treat common conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, tension, and most sleep disorders. An effective antidepressant, CNS depressants work by increasing the activity of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, which leads to sleepiness and calmness. Formulations include diazepam (Valium), pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), and alprazolam (Xanax).

Tips to prevent prescription drug abuse

1. Take only medicines prescribed by your doctor. Never take medicines that have not been prescribed by your doctor. Just because a drug worked well for someone else doesn't automatically mean it will work for you.



2. Follow the instructions religiously. Your doctor can determine the correct dosage, length of treatment, and amount of medication you can take. Taking more than recommended can lead to abuse, so follow your doctor's instructions carefully.



3. Keep medicines out of the reach of children. Prescription medications should be locked away when not in use. Children and adolescents may try these drugs when they are readily available out of curiosity.

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