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OTC drugs: Use and abuse

Medicine - Dr Prem

The concept of drug abuse moves beyond the consumption of illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Over the counter drugs are hugely exploited by people for various reasons like for getting high or just for fun. Such drugs range from depressants to pain relievers. You should always consult a pharmacist to know about the composition of a particular medicine if you are a complete stranger about such drugs. Here you will find a description of some commonly abused OTC drugs.

1. Barbiturates

This drug is generally prescribed to a patient to ease anxiety or to promote sleep. They are also known as barbs, reds, phennies, tooies, red birds, yellow and yellow jackets. Barbiturates are a common type of depressants, which slow down the functioning of the brain. Various kinds of barbiturates are Seconal, Nembutal, Mebaral and Phenobarbital. These drugs are very addictive in nature. However, the fact that they are very helpful to the patients when prescribed by the doctor cannot be forgotten. These drugs are capable of taking your life if not taken as per the doctor’s advice. Never take barbiturates with certain drugs that include alcohol as it can be fatal; the heart beat and breathing can slow down because of this drug ultimately leading to death. Doctor’s advice must be adhered to properly for the safety of your own life.

2. Benzodiazepines

Valium and Xanax are the common examples of benzodiazepines. These are yet another kind of depressants. They are helpful in the treatment of patients suffering from anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. They need to be taken in prescribed amount for short-term usage only. Prolonged usage of benzodiazepines can have severe consequences. This drug is yet again addictive and withdrawal of this drug can be full of consequences. Pharmacists also hesitate in giving drugs of this sought without prescription of a practicing doctor.

3. Sleep Medicines

Sleep medicines are depressants, which again are addictive in nature like other depressants. A person should avoid regular consumption of such drugs as in long run it might harm the body of the patient. Sleep medicines are taken by people complaining of sleep disorder, stress, blood pressure, etc. Of late, some new sleep medicines, also known as nonbenzodiazepines, have ventured into the market, which are less addictive than their old counterparts are. These include Sonata, Ambien and Lunesta. However, these must also be taken only by the advice of a doctor.

4. Codeine and Morphine

Codeine and morphine fall into the category of pain relievers that are abused very often. These drugs are prescribed for immense pain; morphine is much stronger than codeine. Kadian, MS Contin, Roxanol and Avinza are few brands of morphine drugs that are given to patients undergoing unbearable pain. Morphine is also known as “M” and “Miss Emma”. “Captain Cody” and “Cody’ are slang names of Codeine. Such drugs must be consumed when the pain is unbearable and that too on the advice of a doctor.

5. Oxycodone

Oxycodone is an active ingredient of pain relievers like Percocet, OxyContin, Percodan, and Roxicodone. All these are opioid pain relievers, which mean that they are morphine like drugs. Addicts use these drugs for getting high by snorting the powder of the pills. However, these medicines prove to be great for relieving intense pain and suffering. The other side effects of this drug are nausea, constipation, and sedation. Governments of various nations have laid strict rules regarding the availability and usage of these drugs.

6. Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet

Drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet are said to contain “opioid hydrocodone” and “acetaminophen”. They can cause drowsiness, constipation, and depressed breathing. The severity of side effects depend on the amount of drugs consumed. These drugs must be taken by patients who have doctor’s prescription to intake them. Other people must shy away from the usage of these drugs.

7. Amphetamines

Drugs like Dexedrine and Adderall are nothing but stimulants called amphetamines. These stimulants tend to increase attention, energy, and alertness of the person. These are consumed by people who wish to attain high. Amphetamines are generally prescribed to patients suffering from narcolepsy and depression. They are also given to people suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This drug is the last resort taken when the patient fails to respond to other medicines. Intake of this drug can have some serious side effects like irregular heartbeat, heart failure, insomnia, addiction, etc. The consequences can be fatal in extreme cases. Amphetamines are commonly known as “bennies,” “black beauties,” and “speed”.

8. Methylphenidate

Methylphenidate is yet another type of stimulant, which is generally found in ADHD drugs. These drugs are Concerta, Ritalin, Metadate, and Methylin. They are popularly known as “MPH,” R-ball,” “Skippy,” “the smart drug,” and “vitamin R”. High doses of methylphenidate can cause high body temperature and irregular heartbeat. In extreme cases, it might even be fatal leading to a cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures. Drugs like these must always be consumed as per the prescription of the doctor. Addiction of these drugs is fatal.

9. Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Dextromethorphan, also known as DXM, is a common ingredient found in many cough and cold medicines. Products comprising of DXM are safe when taken as per the recommendation of the doctor. Larger doses however can cause nausea, increased heart rate, and vomiting. People often take this drug because it is capable of producing euphoria. DXM is also known as “Orange Crush,” “Triple Cs,” “Dex,” “Robo,” and “Skittles”. Doctor’s prescription is mandatory for consumption of this drug.

10. Pseudo-ephedrine

Pseudoephedrine is a common ingredient found in various cold medicines. It is used in making methamphetamine, which is an illegal drug. There are various laws enforced by the government regarding the quantity of methamphetamine that can be sold at once. This drug is like other stimulants, is very addictive, and causes fatal damage to the patient’s health and life. Doctor’s prescription is very important for the intake of this drug.

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