Belgians careless with how they consume medicine, says survey

Belgians careless with how they consume medicine, says survey
Credit: Belga

Two out of three Belgians are on medication, including anti-inflammatories, painkillers and antibiotics. But Belgians are not necessarily careful with how they use their meds.

A third of users rarely or never check whether the medicines they have at home are out of date, according to a survey of a thousand Belgians by the online pharmacy Viata.

"We are clearly too careless with medicines and that is dangerous. There is absolutely a need to raise awareness," said Annelies Vanderlinden, a pharmacist at Viata, in De Morgen.

"One in ten don't throw away a nasal spray until it's finished. That is dangerous because such substances come into contact with you when you are sick and if you keep them for a long time, it becomes a proliferation of bacteria."

Mistakes also occur when taking medication, as 30% of respondents at times take medicine with coffee, 29% with fruit juice and 13% with alcohol.

"The combination with these drinks can cause unwanted effects such as reduced or enhanced side effects. Caffeine in coffee, for example, can lead to restlessness, insomnia and palpitations," explained Vanderlinden.

One in seven may take an extra dose of medicine without discussing it with a doctor or pharmacist. Over a fifth of respondents break or crush a tablet in half without consulting their healthcare provider despite the potential effects.

"But this can lead to a lesser effect and also more side effects because certain substances are released too quickly."

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.