General Health

5 Medicines You Should Never Consume without a Prescription

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By Apollo 24/7, Published on- 17 December 2021, Updated on - 04 May 2023

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With the bulk of the information available online, people often self-diagnose their condition and start consuming several prescription medicines such as statins or steroids, without consulting a doctor. This can put people at risk of severe allergic reactions, some of which can be life-threatening. It is extremely necessary to analyse the dosage, possible complications and harmful interactions of the medicine with other medicines before consumption. Medicines should always be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.  

Medicines that should not be consumed without prescription

1. Prescription painkillers

While over-the-counter painkillers (such as paracetamol) are considered safe for use, several prescription analgesics may cause more harm than good if consumed carelessly. Prescription painkillers such as opioids (tramadol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen and aspirin) are usually prescribed to people suffering from chronic pain. However, abuse of these painkillers can result in serious side effects such as indigestion, stomach ulcers, bleeding, rashes, bruising, liver damage, heart attack, and even stroke. 

2. Antibiotics

Antibiotics help in treating various bacterial infections such as strep throat, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), meningitis, and several others. However, inappropriate, excessive usage, and incomplete course of antibiotics, can lead to microbial resistance. This reduces the efficacy of the antibiotic in treating that specific bacterial infection. For instance, due to the resistance developed in the body against amoxicillin (one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics), it is now given in combination with clavulanic acid. 

Recommended read: How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance in the Body

3. Statins

Cholesterol-lowering medicines, commonly known as statins, are prescribed to people with high cholesterol levels in the blood, which increases their risk for heart diseases. However, some people use these medicines to lose weight, without consulting a doctor. This can put them at risk of muscle damage and pain, liver damage, and several neurological side effects such as confusion and memory loss. Instead of using statins, it is advisable to add cholesterol-lowering foods such as whole wheat, brown rice, omega-3 rich fatty fish (sardines and tuna), lentils, pulses, and nuts and seeds to the diet. 

4. Steroids

Anabolic steroids are prescription medications, which are often misused by people to increase muscle mass and enhance athletic stamina. Little do they know, the injudicious use of anabolic steroids can result in a variety of side effects, ranging from mild effects such as acne and mood swings to life-threatening effects such as heart attack, stroke, liver damage, and severe hormonal imbalance. 

5. Sleeping pills

Sleeping pills, also known as sedatives or hypnotics, are commonly prescribed to people suffering from sleeping disorders such as insomnia. However, misuse of these sleeping pills can result in dizziness, difficulty in balancing, dry mouth, headache, heartburn, nausea. Moreover, consumption of non-prescribed sleeping pills can be life-threatening for people with sleep apnoea, as their breathing gets interrupted while sleeping. Even supplements containing melatonin (the sleep hormone) should not be consumed without a prescription. 

Recommended reading: Overcome Insomnia with a Healthy Lifestyle


With easy access to pharmaceutical products, people end up consuming several prescription medicines, which can put them at risk for severe consequences. It is advised that you talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medication. Your complete medical history would help the doctor determine whether the medicine you’re consuming is safe. 

You can also book an appointment with a general physician using the Apollo247 app.

Consult a General Physician


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