September 1, 2012
School of Pharmacy, Kochi
Marunnarivukal – A book on medicine authored by Ms. Leena Thomas, Assistant Professor in Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Amrita School of Pharmacy was recently published by Mathrubhumi Books.
The book in Malayalam endeavours to enlighten readers about the proper use of allopathic medicines.
“Many a time, while discussing with people about medications, I would realize that there existed a communication gap between the doctor and the patient. I felt it was the duty of a pharmacist to bridge that gap by helping create awareness about the appropriate use of medicines,” stated Ms. Leena.
“Each and every section in this book is compiled from my personal experiences of interactions with patients, helping clarify their doubts and worries about medicine usage,” she added.
The book is divided into sixteen sections.
In earlier sections, the author explains the importance of reading instructions on the medicine labels, and carefully noting such details as the name of medicine, storage conditions and other directions before consuming or administering the medicine.
The author elaborates how the label usually displays the generic and trade names for a drug, the batch and lot numbers, warnings, manufacturing and expiry dates, etc.
“Ideally, a patient should adhere to all the instructions given to him or her. In order to get maximum benefit from the prescribed treatment, it is always better to know the generic name, dosage schedule and storage conditions. For example, ointments and capsules are to be generally stored below 30 degrees C, syrups for children are to be stored in amber colored bottles and refrigerated between 8-25 degrees C,” she states.
The book then goes on to explain the wide range of dosages used and the correct ways of administering them.
The section on the consequences of food- drug interactions explains why certain food types are recommended or not recommended with certain medications.
“For example, antibiotic Azithromycin should be taken when the stomach is empty, because when taken with food, the rate of drug absorption drastically decreases. Similarly, concurrent use of alcohol with anti-allergic drugs should be avoided as it can lead to increased drowsiness and impairment of alertness,” the author writes.
Towards the later sections, the book describes the adverse effects of self-medication and highlights the proper use of Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicines. The author emphasizes that one should limit the use of OTC medicines and should use them in prior consultation with qualified healthcare professionals.
“Now-a-days, most people engage in self-treatment due to lack of time to consult the doctor and fear of expensive treatments. Anti-allergics, pain killers, sedatives, cough syrups, antacids, antibiotics, laxatives, vitamins and health supplements are the most commonly abused medicines as they are readily available without a prescription. One should acquire proper knowledge of such OTC medications before using them,” she states.
The author also stresses that self treatment with prolonged use of antacids for heart burns and gastric ulcers is dangerous; self treatment with antibiotics for fever and flu is not advisable.
Although this is the first book Ms. Leena has published, she is no stranger to writing. She has penned many medicine-related articles for the lay person, published in different health magazines. After completing her post-graduation in Pharmacy, Ms. Leena joined the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals for her training. She also served in Calicut Government Pharmacy College and M.O.S.C Medical College, Kolenchery before joining Amrita.