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Warning: sharing prescription drugs can affect your reproductive potential

A prescription drug is meant to be taken only by the individual it was prescribed for. In other words, it’s a person-specific thing. Yet, this study reports that the incidence of sharing or borrowing prescription medications is quite high. The practice has become a major medical and public health problem.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the highest incidence occurred among women of child-bearing potential. The results of the study, based on a survey of more than 25,000 people of different ages and gender, are as follows:

  • 28.8% of women report having shared prescription medications. Only 26.5% of men surveyed do the same.
  • More than a third (36.5%) of reproductive-aged women (7,500 women aged 18 to 44 years old) follows this practice. Only 19.5% of other aged women do the same.

The most common medications involved are anti-allergy drugs and analgesics (anti-pain). The risks of taking medications that were not prescribed by your doctor specifically for you are as follows:

  • Drug interactions with other drugs and/or foodstuffs and drinks
  • Drug allergies
  • Development of antibiotic resistance
  • Risk of addiction

In addition, certain drugs may have undesirable effects on people of child-bearing potential.

Certain drugs, we know, can have adverse effects on the development of embryos and fetuses when taken by pregnant women. What is less well-known is that there are drugs which can cause harm to babies of women who are still trying to get pregnant. Some drugs have very long half-life and can therefore persist in the body for long periods of time. Other drugs may also have effects on fertility, sexuality, and the reproductive system.

So, next time you are tempted to borrow, share, or lend prescription drugs, please think twice…


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