The medical drug under dosage is a condition in which a patient does not complete his or her drug dosage as prescribed by a medical practitioner.  It can be within a day or fails to complete a whole dosage within a specified time. Most people in Africa fail to follow the guidelines of drug usage as prescribed by medical workers but instead use their recovery levels to determine whether to continue or complete the prescribed medical plan or not. Under dosage occurs in all age groups, ranging from children to adults though when it comes to children it is mainly a result of the failure of caretakers.

Causes of Medical Drug Under Dosage

Several have been implicated in the causes of drugs under the dosage range. This may range from the caretakers of the patients to the patients and some extent the medical workers. The specific causes are discussed below. 

  1. The feeling of being fine. After a few moments of drug administration, patients usually get relieved from the complications associated with the disease they are suffering from. Since they have no more pain, they usually halt the process of completing the drugs as prescribed by the medical workers which eventually leads to the drug being underdosed.
  2. Negative attitude towards drugs. Some drugs have a bitter test which usually irritates people mainly children. Most children do not like bitter drugs and if given to them without a proper watch, they throw them away instead of swallowing them. Thus, the right number of drugs is not ingested which is one of the forms of underdose.
  3. Lack of money to buy full dose. With the high levels of poverty in Africa and scarcity of drugs in the hospital, some patients fail to provide themselves with the right dosage. They use the little money they have to buy a smaller number of drugs which helps them to feel better but does not bring healing sometimes. The administration of a few drugs is still considered under dosage.
  4. Wrong prescription by some medical workers. This is not so prevalent though some medical workers who have less experience usually mess up by making wrong drug prescriptions. Because of this, patients end up taking under dose unknowingly.
  5. Self-treatment. Most Africans have developed the habit of prescribing medicine for themselves. For instance, in case of any headache, they run for pain killers and for any stomachache they rush for Cipro. This could result in either underdosing or overdosing on the medicine.

Effects of Medical Drug Under Dosage

The drug underdose has several side effects which not handled can result in serious complications.

First and foremost, it can result in the acceleration of illnesses. Failure to complete drugs can lead to a more severe illness that not handled may result in serious consequences including the death of the patient. For example, failure to ingest the right number of HIV/AIDS drugs at the right time is one of the causes of death of some HIV/AIDS patients.

Drug underdose is one of the forms of drug misuse. The whole world is now suffering from another problem called Antimicrobial Resistance which is attributed to drug misuse.

Antimicrobial resistance is a situation where pathogens such as bacteria fail to respond to the drugs being administered. Subjecting a low number of drugs to pathogens gives them chance to evolve more defensive mechanisms against that particular drug.


For a healthy life, the right number of drugs should be administered at the right time. Parents and caretakers should ensure patients swallow the medicine as per the prescriptions of well-trained medical workers.

Gordon kibulya Ahaisibwe


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