07/11/2011 07:45 GMT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Detox Warning For People On Regular Medication

Detoxing the body of regular or long-term medication could cause serious health complications, health experts behind Ask Your Pharmacist Week have warned.

Although detoxing is most popular for cleansing the body by cutting out unhealthy foods, alcohol and toxins, the survey by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) found that one in five believe that it is beneficial to give the body a 'medicine detox' from long-term medication.

Researchers from the study have warned that restricting the body of essential medicines for conditions like diabetes, asthma or depression, could allow the disease to become uncontrolled. This ultimately increases the risk of devastating health complications.

"There is a lot of misunderstanding about how medicines work in your body. It's important to get the right treatment and the right advice," says Leyla Hannbeck from the NPA.

"We are especially concerned that people with long-term conditions may feel it is right to 'detox' from time to time by taking a break from their prescribed medicines. For someone with, say, asthma, diabetes or depression, the result of doing so can be catastrophic."

The survey also discovered that many misunderstand the importance of being vigilant when it comes to taking prescribed or over-the-counter medication.

Nearly a third of people think it's fine to take non-prescription medicines that have been recommended to someone else. A quarter of those questioned incorrectly thought that aspirin is a weaker version of ibuprofen and 50% believe that the flu vaccine causes flu.

Even more worrying is that one in ten adults never check the expiration date on medication in their cupboards, meaning millions of us could be popping pills years out of date.

"The benefits of a frank and full conversation with a pharmacist about your medicines can be enormous - you'll get the most out of your medicine and you're also less likely to suffer harm through inappropriate use," explains Hannbeck.

"Ask any questions you may have, no matter how trivial you think they are. When you go into your local pharmacy, remember you can access a package of care there, not just packets of pills. There is expert health and wellbeing advice and a range of services that you might not even know are there."

Here, the National Pharmacy Association reveals the truth behind the most common mediciation myths with advice on how to manage your medication safely:

The Truth Behind The Medicine Myths