Updated 16 October 2006

Medication: why is it dangerous to do things your way?

So, what does 'compliance' with treatment mean? It means sticking to the instructions on how and when to take something. So what happens if you don't?


So, what does 'compliance' with treatment mean? It means sticking to the instructions the doctor gave or following instructions on packaging for non-prescription medication.

Failure to do so could cause serious complications, as overdosing could lead to hospitalisation. But that's not the only things that can go wrong.

There are many different ways in which people fail to comply. These can have severe effects. Here are four ways in which this happens:

  • Overdosing is a common form of noncompliance. People argue that if the medication will make their acne disappear in two weeks, surely double the dosage will work in one week. This is not only untrue, but also dangerous. The side effects of a double or triple dose of medication can quite easily lead to hospitalisation.
  • Skipping a dose is also a form of noncompliance. For many medications to work effectively, a certain level has to be maintained in the body. If you skip a dose or two, this level drops and the medication can become ineffective.
  • Overuse of topical medication can actually irritate the skin, rather than hastening the healing process. Acne medication that is directly applied to the skin gently cleanses the skin of excess oils and removes bacteria. If used too frequently, acne can actually worsen as a result of the possible skin irritation.

  • Self-medication with additional treatments can also be problematic, as they can cross-react with other medications you may be taking and actually make your skin condition worse. Just because something worked for your friend, doesn't mean that it will work for you.

(Health24, updated 2010)


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