Valley physician urges people not to share medication with family members
A Rio Grande Valley physician is urging people not to share medication with their family members. While it may be convenient, there's a major risk.
"Everybody with COVID-19, we treat a little bit differently,” said ECISD Health Center Medical Director Dr. Marissa Gomez-Martinez. “Some people don't need any medication because their symptoms are so mild, or they have no symptoms, while others have very severe disease and then there's everything in between."
Gomez-Martinez, who is a physician advisor with DHR Health's urgent care, says she's seen a lot of different scenarios with COVID-19 patients seeking their own treatment by actually sharing medications with family members.
Dr. Gomez-Martinez says sharing medicines or treatments could do more harm than good.
"In somebody who is younger, healthier or maybe who doesn't have severe symptoms, if you take that steroid too early, you can actually cause the virus to replicate faster and depress your own immune system and then put yourself into that cytokine storm,” Gomez-Martinez said. “So, taking that medication can actually make things worse."
Every patient's risk factors, age and symptoms at the time determine their treatment. The timing of medications is also important.
“There's definitely an indication to use these medications at certain times and for certain patients in certain conditions, but they shouldn't take them just because they're used to taking them,” Dr. Gomez-Martinez said. “Patients really need to consult with their medical provider when using these medications.”
Dr. Gomez-Martinez says the issue with COVID-19 is that it can change rapidly. The best option is to consult with a medical provider to help guide patients in the right direction. Dr. Gomez-Martinez urges family members not to share medications thinking its going to work the same way for everybody.