Fake prescription for COVID-19 appears on social media: Here's the list of medicines and what they do
Self-medication for COVID-19 based on messages shared on social media platforms can cause more harm then be helpful
It's important to acknowledge the role of technology in testing and treating COVID-19 patients as well as disseminating information about the pandemic to different parts of the world. However, this technology is also being misused to spread rumours during this massive crisis.
The phenomenon isn’t new but taking unnecessary medications and preventative measures based on messages shared on social media platforms can cause more harm then be helpful.
For example, a fake message is being circulated across the country right now which is supposedly a prescription by a doctor from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi — on their letterhead. The prescription has been addressed to the close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19 infection. In the prescription, the doctor seems to have recommended the use of certain medications, including hydroxychloroquine.
However, on 11 June 2020, in a Facebook post, the hospital authorities dissociated themselves from the prescription, saying that the image is fake and someone forged the signature of the doctor. It is strictly recommended to take medical advice before taking any medication, especially during these times. Your medical history and underlying conditions play a major role in the medications prescribed to you by a doctor.
Here, we are giving you a brief about how the medicines mentioned in the prescription work and why some of them should not be taken without a doctor’s recommendation.
Hydroxychloroquine, also known as HCQ, is actually an anti-malarial drug which is also used for the patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. After COVID-19 was declared as pandemic, HCQ was examined in labs and it showed some preventive and treatment abilities against the COVID-19 infection.
Further research is still ongoing and jury is still out on whether it can treat COVID-19 effectively. However, doctors have strictly advised people to avoid self-medication with HCQ as it bears several side effects such as dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, stomach pain and some severe ones like cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscles) and kidney damage.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin which is present in many food items including lemon and oranges. Zinc is a vital mineral which is required by the body to make protein and DNA (the genes) in the body.
Both of these nutrients are known to improve your immunity in the long run but they would not act as a magic potion against the COVID-19 virus. You can either add vitamin C-rich food items in your diet or you can take the over-the-counter available vitamin C supplements. You can consume whole grains and legumes to provide your body with the required amount of zinc. However, keep in mind that Zinc supplements must be taken after getting a medical consultation.
Paracetamol, medically called acetaminophen, is considered to be the safest drug to treat fever and mild pain. It is an easily available over-the-counter drug. You must not self-medicate yourself during this crisis as an overdose of paracetamol can result in a toxic reaction in the liver which is known as acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity.
Cetirizine is an anti-allergic medication which is used to treat allergic symptoms in the body such as a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and itchy throat. Cetirizine should not be consumed without a medical consultation as it bears side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, headache and many more. Cetirizine should not be considered as a preventive medication against COVID-19 or any other allergy.
Alex syrup is a cough syrup which contains the combination of phenylephrine (decongestant), chlorpheniramine maleate (anti-allergic), and dextromethorphan hydrobromide (a cough suppressant). It is advised to take this medication after medical consultation as it bears side effects such as dizziness and dry mouth and some severe side effects like swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, which can lead to choking.
For more information, read our article on Is Hydroxychloroquine really effective against COVID-19?
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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