5 Common Drugs That Ghanaians Overuse Without Prescriptions

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There are prescription drugs, which are only sold with a signed doctor’s note, and there are over-the-counter drugs which members of the public can buy more freely at pharmacies. A lot of people assume that because over-the-counter drugs can be purchased freely, they are harmless. However, that’s not the case. In fact, casual self-medication can have undesired side effects. The following are commonly purchased drugs for self-medicating and the unforeseen effects that they can have when taken without recommendation.


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Pain Killers are some of the most commonly used drugs when it comes to self-medication in Ghana. And Paracetamol has remained one of the top over the counter drugs that Ghanaians use for a significant period of time. However, according to Dr Leonard Nelson, of Edinburgh University, Even taking one or two more tablets than recommended can cause serious liver damage and possibly death. Paracetamol overdose is one of the leading causes of liver failure.

Vitamin C

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I don’t think that anyone believes that Vitamin C pills are a potent drug in any way. However, even though vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient, it’s possible to have too much of it. Taking Vitamin C supplements in excessive doses can have the following effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

For most people, a healthy diet provides an adequate amount of Vitamin C.

Postinor 2

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The abuse of the post-pill by the youth is a conversation that really needs to be had. Instead of having protected sex, some believe that they can always fix things with the morning-after pill. However, if you’ve ever had a conversation with someone that has taken the post-pill then you know that it has some pretty severe physical consequences. The side effects of the Postinor 2 pill include tiredness, nausea and vomiting. Some patients have also experienced stomach pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, tender breasts, increased vaginal bleeding and skin reactions. Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients (source: NPS Medicine Wise).


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