Medication phobia

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Medication phobia
Other namesPharmacophobia

Medication phobia, also known as pharmacophobia, is a fear of the use of pharmacological treatments.[1] In severe, excessive and irrational cases it may be a type of specific phobia.

While lack of awareness by patient or doctor of adverse drug reactions can have serious consequences, having a phobia of medications can also have serious detrimental effects on patient health, for example refusal of necessary pharmacological interventions.[2][3][4] Medication phobia can also lead to problems with medication compliance.[5] Medication phobia can also present in parents who are concerned about giving medications to their children,[6] fearing that the medications will do more harm than good.[7] Medication phobia can be triggered by unpleasant adverse reactions to medications which are sometimes prescribed inappropriately or at excessive doses. Lack of awareness of the patient's predisposition to adverse effects (e.g. anxious patients and the elderly) and failure to attribute the adverse effects to the drug serves to compound the phobia.[8][9] Starting at low doses and slowly increasing the medication dosage can avoid medication phobia secondary to adverse effects from developing.[9]

Fears of medication use is also prevalent in people who have experienced unpleasant withdrawal effects from psychotropic drugs.[10] Sometimes patients wrongly associate symptoms of an acute disease or illness with medications used to treat the disease or illness. This form of pharmacophobia can be treated by attempting to convince the patient to take test doses of the drug or another drug in the same drug class to prove to the patient that the symptoms were not due to the drug but due to the illness the drug was taken to treat.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bossini, L.; Martinucci, M.; Paolini, K.; Castrogiovanni, P. (Jan 2005). "Panic-agoraphobic spectrum and light sensitivity in a general population sample in Italy". Can J Psychiatry. 50 (1): 39–45. doi:10.1177/070674370505000108. PMID 15754664.
  2. ^ Marks, R. (2001). "Pharmaphilia and pharmaphobia". Clin Dermatol. 19 (1): 69–71. doi:10.1016/S0738-081X(00)00215-7. PMID 11369491.
  3. ^ "Drugs that call for extra caution. Heed these warnings, but don't let "pharmaphobia" threaten your heart". Heart Advis. 9 (12): 4–5. Dec 2006. PMID 17299872.
  4. ^ Naess, K. (Sep 1974). "[Editorial: "Pharmaphobia"]". Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 94 (25): 1544–5. PMID 4424846.
  5. ^ KLE HON; TF LEUNG (2008). "Killing Many Birds with One Stone" (PDF). HK J Paediatr (New Series). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Journal of Pediatrics. 13: 135–138.
  6. ^ Winner, Paul; Rothner, David (23 Jan 2001). Headache In Children And Adolescents. BC Decker. p. 100. ISBN 1-55009-125-5.
  7. ^ Diamond, Seymour; Diamond, Amy (2001). Headache and your child: the complete guide to understanding and treating migraines and other headaches in children and adolescents. New York: Simon Schuster. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-684-87309-1.
  8. ^ M.d. Kamath, Bob (30 May 2007). Is Your Balloon About to Pop?. Booksurge Llc. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-4196-6556-1.
  9. ^ a b HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE ORGANIZATION, OHIO (2001). PALLIATIVE CARE POCKET CONSULTANT. Kendall Hunt Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7872-8701-6.
  10. ^ Ashton CH (2002). "Benzodiazepines: how they work & how to withdraw". The Ashton Manual. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  11. ^ Mastrovich, JD; Patterson, R; Davison, R; Harris, KE (2001). "Using test dose challenges to restore essential therapy in patients with idiopathic anaphylaxis and pharmacophobia: report of a patient with idiopathic anaphylaxis and statin phobia". Allergy Asthma Proc. 22 (5): 303–9. PMID 11715221.