Prescription Drugs Misuses

Globally, prescription drug diversion and misuse is a growing public health issue and its impact is associated with a high risk of poor healthcare outcomes, increased hospitalization and higher death rates.

Misuse of prescription drugs means taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain;  continues use of the medication even when asked to stop by a doctor, taking more than a recommended prescribed dose or taking a medication to feel euphoria. The term nonmedical use of prescription drugs also refers to these categories of misuse. The three classes of medication most commonly misused are:

Opioids. – Usually prescribed to treat pain in the central nervous system [CNS]

Depressants. This category includes tranquillizers, sedatives, and hypnotics—used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders

Stimulants. – Most often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Impact of inappropriate uses of medicines.

  • Reduce the quality of the treatment: will consequently lead to increase hospital stay, worsen the health conditions and may even lead to death.
  • Waste of Resources: will lead to reduced availability and increase the cost of the treatment
  • Risk of Unwanted side effects. Misuses of medications are highly associated with increase side effects, adverse drug reactions and bacterial resistances
  • Psychological impacts: Misuse of medication could potentially cause the patient to rely on an unnecessary drug (Addiction and dependence)

How to avoid misuse of drugs

  • Take medicines only when needed
  • Talk to your Pharmacist/Doctor about your medicine
  • Do not pass down medicines from one family or friend to another.
  • Complete your dosage regimen
  • Receive medical advice only from healthcare professionals
  • Avoid self medications

In addition, drug misuses can be minimized by educating yourself, your family, and friends. Safeguard the prescription drugs as they are brought home. Safely store your medicines to avoid accidental exposure.


Abubakar Mukhtar BPharm. MSc. (In view)


Further reading:

http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/390-the-dangers-of-misused-prescription-drugs

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse

https://www.pharmacologyeducation.org/clinical-pharmacology/drug-misuse

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