Taking Precautionary Steps When Consuming Medicines

Taking Precautionary Steps When Taking Medicines

Drugs are either chemicals or biological substances

It’s undeniable that all medicines are drugs, either chemical or biological substances; and they affect our body and mind in one way or another. If used correctly, they can alter the course of a disease and, for patients of chronic diseases, may even offer an improved lifestyle.

No drug is completely safe

Notwithstanding the benefits they offer to us, we must always remember that no drug is completely safe. Virtually all drugs have side-effects and could even result in serious adverse reactions in users who are allergic to them. They can be fatal if not used or prescribed correctly.

Common classification of drugs: Prescribed or Non-prescribed

Drugs are commonly classified under two main categories: prescription and non-prescription drugs. Non-prescription drugs are also referred to as over-the counter or OTC drugs. Prescription drugs are extremely potent and should only be taken as advised by doctors or medical professionals. The most common example is antibiotics. On the other hand, OTCs are much less potent drugs and can be easily purchased at pharmacies or medical supply stores without requiring a doctor’s prescription. Common examples are laxatives and antacids.

Names of medicines becoming increasingly confusing

Due to the proliferation of new drugs, the names of drugs have only become more confusing. There are so many with similar sounding names. Nevertheless, it is vital to remember that every drug has three types of names, i.e. the chemical name, the generic name and finally, the brand name.

The chemical name, used by the scientists and researchers, describes the drug’s molecular structure. The generic name, which is an agreed shortened form of the chemical name, provides certain clue to the chemicals found in the drug. Lastly, the brand name or trade name is the name used by the manufacturers to label and distribute the drug. Therefore, it is possible for a drug’s generic name to be the same worldwide while its brand name differs from country to country.

For example, take 1,2-diphenyl-3,5-dioxo-4-n-butylpyrazolidine which is the chemical name for Phenylbutazone. Phenylbutazone is the generic name for a dangerous non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug used for treating arthritis. Another common example is aspirin which is the generic name for a chemical compound 2-(acetyloxy) benzoic acid.

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