Friend, Friend I am Sick!


Who love to go to the doctor, have a check-up, get a prescription and obey? Naaahhh, it doesn’t sound like most of us! What we love? When we are sick, we love to self-medicate. Worse, we can’t help but spread the news to everyone by suggesting (more like convincing) the medicines we use to our friends (either real or virtual facebook or MummySG friends) and families. Seriously, it doesn’t cause much harm, does it? Go ahead and tell all your friends that the best pain reliever is Tylenol. No biggie.

Taking any medication entails a great responsibility to one’s body. So great, there are times it becomes a matter of life and death. Some people die ‘just’ by taking Tylenol because of severe allergic reactions to one of its ingredients, Acetaminophen. It is found in many nonprescription products and in some combination prescription drugs. Now, like all medication, taking contraceptive pills is a popular, try-this-pill-because-it-works-me (friendly?) advice. “It is fine to take this, it’s good for my skin, my breasts get bigger, etc, so I am pretty sure it will work for you, too,” often we hear.

Thanks but no thanks.

In Singapore alone, there are over 10 brands of contraceptive pills available. Each contains a specific blend of synthetic hormones oestrogen and progestin, and has its own set of pros and cons.(Facts About the Contraceptive Pill , Mind Your Body, The Straits Times. Poon Chian Hui)

Given this reminder, there are still a lot of women who opt not to go their gynaecologists, and instead, seek for advice from their colleagues at work and friends over the internet. It becomes more alarming when Yahoo News Singapore reported Tuesday of last week that “at least 23 Canadian women died and hundreds more may have been harmed taking the world’s two most commonly prescribed birth control pills.”

“Yaz and Yasmin oral contraceptives were suspected in the deaths by doctors and pharmacists who reported adverse drug reactions to Health Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said, citing documents obtained from the government agency.”

“Their manufacturer, German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, is the target of lawsuits in Canada, the United States and elsewhere by women who claim they were harmed by this new generation of contraception containing a synthetic hormone called drospirenone.”

“Some 600 women prescribed Yaz or Yasmin in Canada reportedly suffered adverse health reactions. Twenty-three died, including a 14-year-old girl, mostly from blood clots, according to the Health Canada data.”

The above report does not solely pinpoint self-medicating as the culprit for the deaths of these women. So what is? It is the lack of information. Those who go to the doctor are definitely ahead in making informed choices. The effects of different drugs are relative to each individual, thus, it is a must to consult your physician, and do your research.

It may be our laziness, lack of time, lack of money and doubt why we choose not to go to the doctor. However, the effects of self-medicating can never outweigh the benefits of taking medication responsibly.

“MummySG, where every Mum is awesome.”