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    Understanding Medicines and What They Do (for Teens)

    Medicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them.

    Understanding Medicines and What They Do

    Reviewed by: Elora Hilmas, PharmD, BCPS

    Print en español

    Medicamentos: qué son y para qué sirven

    Sometimes it seems like there are more medicines than there are diseases, and it can be hard to keep them straight. Some can be bought over the counter at pharmacies or other stores. Others require a doctor's prescription. Some are available only in hospitals.

    What Are Medicines?

    Medicines are chemicals or compounds used to cure, halt, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. Advances in medicines have enabled doctors to cure many diseases and save lives.

    These days, medicines come from a variety of sources. Many were developed from substances found in nature, and even today many are extracted from plants.

    Some medicines are made in labs by mixing together a number of chemicals. Others, like penicillin, are byproducts of organisms such as fungus. And a few are even biologically engineered by inserting genes into bacteria that make them produce the desired substance.

    When we think about taking medicines, we often think of pills. But medicines can be delivered in many ways, such as:

    liquids that are swallowed

    drops that are put into ears or eyes

    creams, gels, or ointments that are rubbed onto the skin

    inhalers (like nasal sprays or asthma inhalers)

    patches that are stuck to skin (called transdermal patches)

    tablets that are placed under the tongue (called sublingual medicines; the medicine is absorbed into blood vessels and enters the bloodstream)

    injections (shots) or intravenous (inserted into a vein) medicines

    No medicine can be sold unless it has first been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The makers of the medicine do tests on all new medicines and send the results to the FDA.

    The FDA allows new medicines to be used only if they work and if they are safe enough. When a medicine's benefits outweigh its known risks, the FDA usually approves the sale of the drug. The FDA can withdraw a medicine from the market at any time if it later is found to cause harmful side effects.

    Different Types of Medicines

    Medicines act in a variety of ways. Some can cure an illness by killing or halting the spread of invading germs, such as bacteria and viruses. Others are used to treat cancer by killing cells as they divide or preventing them from multiplying. Some drugs replace missing substances or correct low levels of natural body chemicals such as some hormones or vitamins. Medicines can even affect parts of the nervous system that control a body process.

    Nearly everyone has taken an antibiotic. This type of medicine fights bacterial infections. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic for things like strep throat or an ear infection. Antibiotics work either by killing bacteria or halting their multiplication so that the body's immune system can fight off the infection.

    Sometimes a part of the body can't make enough of a chemical. That can also make you sick. Someone with insulin-dependent diabetes, for instance, has a pancreas that can't produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates glucose in the body). Some people have a low production of thyroid hormone, which helps control how the body uses energy. In each case, doctors can prescribe medicines to replace the missing hormone.

    Some medicines treat symptoms but can't cure the illness that causes the symptoms. (A symptom is anything you feel while you're sick, such as a cough or nausea.) So taking a lozenge may soothe a sore throat, but it won't kill that nasty strep bacteria.

    Some medicines relieve pain. If you pull a muscle, your doctor might tell you to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These pain relievers, or analgesics, don't get rid of the source of the pain — your muscle will still be pulled. What they do is block the pathways that transmit pain signals from the injured or irritated body part to the brain (in other words, they affect the way the brain reads the pain signal) so that you don't hurt as much while your body recovers.

    As people get older, they sometimes develop chronic or long-term conditions. Medicines can help control things like high blood pressure (hypertension) or high cholesterol. These drugs don't cure the underlying problem, but they can help prevent some of its body-damaging effects over time.

    Among the most important medicines are immunizations (or vaccines). These keep people from getting sick in the first place by immunizing, or protecting, the body against some infectious diseases. Vaccines usually contain a small amount of an agent that resembles a specific germ or germs that have been modified or killed. When someone is vaccinated, it primes the body's immune system to "remember" the germ so it will be able to fight off infection by that germ in the future.

    Most immunizations that prevent you from catching diseases like measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox are given by injection. No one thinks shots are fun. But the diseases they prevent can be very serious and cause symptoms that last much longer than the temporary discomfort of the shot. To make life easier, now you can get immunizations at many pharmacies.

    Although some medicines require a prescription, some are available in stores. You can buy many medicines for pain, fever, cough, or allergies without a prescription. But just because a medicine is available over-the-counter (OTC), that doesn't mean it's free of side effects. Take OTC medicines with the same caution as those prescribed by a doctor.

    Source : kidshealth.org

    Chapter 19 Review: Medicines & Drugs Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards terms like Medicine, Drugs, Side Effects and more.

    Chapter 19 Review: Medicines & Drugs

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    Drugs that are used to treat or prevent diseases or other conditions

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    Substances other than food that change the structure or function of the body or mind

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    Terms in this set (11)


    Drugs that are used to treat or prevent diseases or other conditions


    Substances other than food that change the structure or function of the body or mind

    Side Effects

    Reactions to medicines other than one intended

    Additive Reaction

    Occurs when medicines work together in a positive way

    Synergistic Reaction

    The interaction of two or more medicines that results in a greater effect than when the medicines are taken alone

    Antagonistic Reaction

    Occurs when the effect of one medicine is canceled or reduced when taken with another medicine

    Prescription Medicines

    Medicines that are dispensed only with the written approval of licensed physician or nurse practitioner

    Over-the-Counter Medicines

    Medicines you can buy without a doctor's prescription

    Drug Misuse

    Using a medicine in ways other than the intended use

    Drug Abuse

    Intentionally taking medications for non-medical reasons

    Drug Overdose

    A strong, sometimes fatal, reaction to taking a large amount of drugs

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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jump to navigation Jump to search

    "Medicines" redirects here. For other uses, see Medicine (disambiguation) and Medication (disambiguation).

    "Pharmaceutical" redirects here. For other uses, see Pharmacy, Pharmacology, and Pharmaceutical industry.

    "Meds" redirects here. For other uses, see Meds (disambiguation).


    Packages of medication

    Other names Medicine, drug, pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical preparation, pharmaceutical product, medicinal product, medicament, remedy

    [edit on Wikidata]

    Pharmacists are medication experts.

    A medication is a drug used to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.

    A medication (also called medicament, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.[1][2] Drug therapy (pharmacotherapy) is an important part of the medical field and relies on the science of pharmacology for continual advancement and on pharmacy for appropriate management.

    Drugs are classified in multiple ways. One of the key divisions is by level of control, which distinguishes prescription drugs (those that a pharmacist dispenses only on the order of a physician, physician assistant, or qualified nurse) from over-the-counter drugs (those that consumers can order for themselves). Another key distinction is between traditional small-molecule drugs, usually derived from chemical synthesis, and biopharmaceuticals, which include recombinant proteins, vaccines, blood products used therapeutically (such as IVIG), gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies and cell therapy (for instance, stem-cell therapies). Other ways to classify medicines are by mode of action, route of administration, biological system affected, or therapeutic effects. An elaborate and widely used classification system is the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC system). The World Health Organization keeps a list of essential medicines.

    Drug discovery and drug development are complex and expensive endeavors undertaken by pharmaceutical companies, academic scientists, and governments. As a result of this complex path from discovery to commercialization, partnering has become a standard practice for advancing drug candidates through development pipelines. Governments generally regulate what drugs can be marketed, how drugs are marketed, and in some jurisdictions, drug pricing. Controversies have arisen over drug pricing and disposal of used drugs.


    1 Definition 2 Usage 3 Classification

    4 Types of medicines

    4.1 For the digestive system

    4.2 For the cardiovascular system

    4.3 For the central nervous system

    4.4 For pain

    4.5 For musculo-skeletal disorders

    4.6 For the eye

    4.7 For the ear, nose and oropharynx

    4.8 For the respiratory system

    4.9 For endocrine problems

    4.10 For the reproductive system or urinary system

    4.11 For contraception

    4.12 For obstetrics and gynecology

    4.13 For the skin

    4.14 For infections and infestations

    4.15 For the immune system

    4.16 For allergic disorders

    4.17 For nutrition

    4.18 For neoplastic disorders

    4.19 For diagnostics

    4.20 For euthanasia 5 Administration 6 Drug discovery 7 Development 8 Regulation 9 Drug pricing 9.1 United Kingdom 9.2 Canada 9.3 Brazil 9.4 India 9.5 United States 10 Blockbuster drug 11 History

    11.1 Prescription drug history

    11.2 Ancient pharmacology

    11.3 Medieval pharmacology

    11.4 Modern pharmacology

    12 Controversies

    12.1 Access to unapproved drugs

    12.2 Access to medicines and drug pricing

    12.3 Environmental issues

    13 See also 14 References 15 External links


    Medication [3]is a medicine or a chemical compound used to treat or cure illness. According to the Pharmaceutical dictionary, “any drug or preparation that is used to treat and cure disease,” “a substance used in treating a disease or relieving pain” as defined by Britannica.

    As defined by National Cancer institute A dosage form includes tablets, capsules, liquids, creams, and patches that contain one or more active or inactive ingredients. Medications can be given in different ways, such as by mouth, by infusion into a vein, or by drops put into the ear or eye. A medication that does not contain an active ingredient and is used in research studies is called a placebo. Also called drug product.

    According to BDS Medication Administration Curriculum, Section II, “Medication is a substance taken into or placed on the body to treat, cure, or relieve symptoms of illness. Vaccinations are used to prevent a specific disease.

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

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