There are a number of online retailers who now sell prescription medication, which can seem an appealing option for those who feel they haven’t got time or are nervous to see their GP. However, to ensure the best treatment and medication for your health, it’s important that you always see your GP, and avoid using online companies which will not only charge you more for prescriptions, but may not be working in the best interests of your health.
The dangers of buying medication online
Buying medication online is a gamble. A recent investigation by the Care Quality Commission found that there had been “widespread failings” by a number of online providers, which were deemed to be “potentially presenting a significant risk to patients”. Not only were some websites unlicensed, but a number operate without carrying out the right checks with patients.
Medication sold online can be bought without a thorough consultation, and without notifying your GP. This can lead to dangerous combinations with other medication you may be taking, incorrect dosage and even fake medication from some resources. It’s therefore recommended that you should ALWAYS see your GP for your medication needs as they will ensure a proper consultation and work out the correct medication and dosage for your needs.
Why you should see your GP for medication needs
Whether you’re looking for contraception, antibiotics, strong painkillers or essential medication to treat a condition, it’s important that you make an appointment with your GP.
Your GP will have a detailed medical history for you, including your allergies, existing prescriptions and conditions, and will ask key questions about your family history to assess your risk when using certain medications. Not all medications may be suitable for your needs which is why it’s important to get a proper medical assessment and opinion, rather than relying on self-diagnosis.
Your GP will also look into alternative treatments and medications to avoid a prescription if it isn’t necessary, and will be able to advise you on alternative ways to cope with pain if you suffer from a chronic condition. If a prescription is necessary, you can be assured of the right dosage and combination to meet your needs and support if you experience an adverse reaction or side-effects.
Not only that, but prescriptions may be free for some people, such as those aged 60 or over, women who are pregnant and 16-18 year olds who are in full time education. By paying for a prescription online therefore, you’re out of pocket unnecessarily.
More information about medication
For more information about medication, contact your surgery for advice, or talk to your GP . You can also find a number of resources with NHS Choices, who offer advice on medication in general as well as about online medication. Always exercise caution when it comes to medication and book an appointment with your GP if you are unwell or have suffered an injury needing care beyond over the counter medication from your pharmacy.