Overdose, self-medication, expiry… What are the risks associated with medication?


With a new prevention campaign launched this Wednesday, the French drug policeman warns about our bad habits in the face of drugs. But what are the risks of a bad grip? Europe 1 asked the question to Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, director general of the ANSM.

“Medicines are not ordinary products. Let’s not take them lightly.” Placarded on posters, on video and on a new website, here is the new slogan of the health authorities, unveiled this Wednesday for their new prevention campaign. The National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) warns of our bad habits: consuming expired medicines, adjusting doses, mixing products. Risky but unfortunately common practices, according to a study carried out by the French drug policeman.

Toxic risk for the body

“Three out of ten French people adapt the dose or duration of the drugs prescribed to them by themselves”, specifies Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, director general of the ANSM. The study reveals that following your treatment to the letter and not touching it without the advice of your doctor is not easy for a certain number of French people. One in five patients even combines products or takes more, to go faster. A sometimes very risky overdose, even for drugs considered ordinary.

“If I take the example of paracetamol, you can have risks for the liver which are very serious, which can even lead to severe hepatitis”, explains the director. Ditto for expired drugs: “You may have a decrease in the activity of the molecule. And therefore, in efficiency, or you expose yourself to contamination. The molecule or everything that makes up the drug will degrade and will be able to be toxic for the organism”, she adds. More than one out of three French people thinks that medicines are not harmful after expiry.

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