Medication - Article Prescription Drugs, Over The Counter (OTC) Medication, Vitamins, Herbals, and Supplements
A medication is a licenced drug taken to cure or reduce symptoms of an illness or medical condition. Medications are generally divided into two groups -- Over-the-counter drug (OTC) medications, which are available in pharmacies and supermarkets without special restrictions, and Prescription only medicines (POM), which must be prescribed by a physician. Most OTC medication is generally considered to be safe enough that most persons will not hurt themselves accidentally by taking it as instructed. Many countries, such as the UK have a third category of pharmacy medicines which can only be sold in registered pharmacies, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. However, the precise distinction between OTC and prescription depends on the legal jurisdiction. Medications are typically produced by pharmaceutical companies and are often patented. Those that are not patented are called generic drugs.
Medication can be usually classified in various ways, e.g. by its chemical properties, mode of administration, or biological system affected. An elaborate and widely used classification system is the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System.
Types of medication
For the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system
- Upper digestive tract: antacids, reflux suppressants, antiflatulents, antidopaminergics, proton pump inhibitors, H2-receptor antagonists, cytoprotectants, prostaglandin analogues
- Lower digestive tract: laxatives, antispasmodics, antidiarrhoeals, bile acid sequestrants, opioids
For the cardiovascular system
- General: beta-receptor blocker, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmics, nitrate, antianginals, vasoconstrictor, vasodilator, peripheral activator
- Affecting Blood pressure: ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, alpha blocker
- Coagulation: anticoagulant, heparin, antiplatelet drug, fibrinolytic, anti-hemophilic factor, haemostatic drugs
- Atherosclerosis/cholesterol agents: hypolipidaemic agents, statins.
For the central nervous system
- See also: Psychoactive drug
hypnotic, anaesthetics, antipsychotic, antidepressant (including tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, lithium salt, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), anti-emetic, anticonvulsant and antiepileptic, anxiolytic, barbiturate, movement disorder drug, stimulant (including amphetamines), benzodiazepine, cyclopyrrolone, dopamine antagonist, antihistamine, cholinergic, anticholinergic, emetic, cannabinoids, 5-HT antagonist
For pain & consciousness (Analgesic drugs)
- Further information: Analgesic
The main classes of painkillers are NSAIDs, opioids and various orphans such as paracetamol, tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
For musculo-skeletal disorders
NSAIDs (including COX-2 selective inhibitors), muscle relaxant, neuromuscular drug
For the eye
- General: adrenergic neurone blocker, astringent, ocular lubricant
- Diagnostic: topical anesthetics, sympathomimetics, parasympatholytics, mydriatics, cycloplegics
- Anti-bacterial: antibiotics, topical antibiotics, sulfa drugs, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones
- Anti-fungal: imidazoles, polyenes
- Anti-inflammatory: NSAIDs, corticosteroids
- Anti-allergy: mast cell inhibitors
- Anti-glaucoma: adrenergic agonists, beta-blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors/hyperosmotics, cholinergics, miotics, parasympathomimetics, prostaglandin agonists/prostaglandin inhibitors. nitroglycerin
For the ear, nose and oropharynx
sympathomimetic, antihistamine, anticholinergic, NSAIDs, steroid, antiseptic, local anesthetic, antifungal, cerumenolytic
For the respiratory system
bronchodilator, NSAIDs, anti-allergic, antitussive, mucolytic, decongestant
corticosteroid, beta-receptor antagonist, anticholinergic, steroid
For endocrine problems
androgen, antiandrogen, gonadotropin, corticosteroid, growth hormone, insulin, antidiabetic (sulfonylurea, biguanide/metformin, thiazolidinedione, insulin), thyroid hormones, antithyroid drugs, calcitonin, diphosponate, vasopressin analogues
For the reproductive system or urinary system
antifungal, alkalising agent, quinolones, antibiotic, cholinergic, anticholinergic, anticholinesterase, antispasmodic, 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, selective alpha-1 blocker, sildenafil
contraceptive, oral contraceptives, spermicide, depot contraceptives
For obstetrics and gynaecology
NSAIDs, anticholinergic, haemostatic drug, antifibrinolytic, Hormone Replacement Therapy, bone regulator, beta-receptor agonist, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone, LHRH
gamolenic acid, gonadotropin release inhibitor, progestogen, dopamine agonist, oestrogen, prostaglandin, gonadorelin, clomiphene, tamoxifen, Diethylstilbestrol
For the skin
emollient, anti-pruritic, antifungal, disinfectant, scabicide, pediculicide, tar products, vitamin A derivatives, vitamin D analogue, keratolytic, abrasive, systemic antibiotic, topical antibiotic, hormones, desloughing agent, exudate absorbent, fibrinolytic, proteolytic, sunscreen, antiperspirant, corticosteroid
For infections and infestations
antibiotic, antifungal, antileprotic, antituberculous drug, antimalarial, anthelmintic, amoebicide, antiviral, antiprotozoal, antiserum
vaccine, immunoglobulin, immunosuppressant, interferon, monoclonal antibody
For allergic disorders
anti-allergic, antihistamine, NSAIDs
tonic, iron preparation, electrolyte, parenteral nutritional supplement, vitamins, anti-obesity drug, anabolic drug, haematopoietic drug, food product drug
For neoplastic disorders
A euthanaticum is used for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, see also barbiturates.
Polypharmacy: suggests that multiple use of prescribed and non-prescribed medications, (use of 5 or more), can have adverse effects on the recipient.
Zoopharmacognosy: Animal usage of drugs and non-foods.
- Drug compliance & concordance
- Placebo (origins of technical term)