medication

Medication, also referred to as medicine, can be loosely defined as any substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Other synonyms include pharmacotherapy, pharmacotherapeutics, and drug treatment.

Classification

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 (ATC system).

Types of medicines:

  1. Antipyretics : reducing fever (pyrexia)
  2. Analgesics : painkillers
  3. Anti-malaria drugs : treating malaria
  4. Antibiotics : inhibiting germ growth
  5. Antiseptics : prevention of germ growth near burns, cuts and wounds

Types of medications (type of pharmacotherapy)

For the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system

For the cardiovascular system

For the central nervous system

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)

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
anticholinesterase

For the eye

For the ear, nose and oropharynx

sympathomimetic, antihistamine, anticholinergic, NSAIDs, steroid, antiseptic, local anesthetic, antifungal, cerumenolyti

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, fertility medication

For contraception

For obstetrics and gynecology

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

For immunology

vaccine, immunoglobulin, immunosuppressant, interferon, monoclonal antibody

For allergic disorders

anti-allergic, antihistamine, NSAIDs

For nutrition

tonic, iron preparation, electrolyte, parenteral nutritional supplement, vitamins, anti-obesity drug, anabolic drug, haematopoietic drug, food product drug

For neoplastic disorders

cytotoxic drug, sex hormones, aromatase inhibitor, somatostatin inhibitor, recombinant interleukins, G-CSF, erythropoietin

For diagnostics

contrast media

For euthanasia

An euthanaticum is used for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, see also barbiturates.

Euthanasia is not permitted by law in many countries, and consequently medicines will not be licenesed for this use in those countries.

Legal considerations

Medications may be divided into over-the-counter drugs (OTC) which may be available without special restrictions, and prescription only medicine (POM), which must be prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. The precise distinction between OTC and prescription depends on the legal jurisdiction.

The International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations imposes a world law of prohibition of certain medications. They publish a lengthy list of chemicals and plants whose trade and consumption (where applicable) is forbidden. OTC medications are sold without restriction as they are considered safe enough that most people will not hurt themselves accidentally by taking it as instructed. Many countries, such as the United Kingdom have a third category of pharmacy medicines which can only be sold in registered pharmacies, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist.

For patented medications, countries may have certain mandatory licensing programs which compel, in certain situations, a medication's owner to contract with other agents to manufacture the drug. Such programs may deal with the contingency of a lack of medication in the event of a serious epidemic of disease, or may be part of efforts to ensure that disease treating drugs, such as AIDS drugs, are available to countries which cannot afford the drug owner's price.

Other/related topics

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.

Blockbuster drug

A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. The search for blockbusters has been the foundation of the R&D strategy adopted by big pharmaceutical companies, but this looks set to change. New advances in genomics, and the promise of personalized medicine, are likely to fragment the pharmaceutical market.

A recent report from Urch Publishing estimated that about one third of the pharma market by value is accounted for by blockbusters. About 100 products are blockbusters. The top seller was Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication marketed by Pfizer with sales of $12.2 billion.

Leading blockbuster drugs

Medication Trade name Company Sales (billion $), year
atorvastatin Lipitor Pfizer 12 (2007) <
clopidogrel Plavix Bristol-Myers Squibb and sanofi-aventis 5.9 (2005)
enoxaparin Lovenox or Clexane sanofi-aventis
celecoxib Celebrex Pfizer 2.3 (2007)
omeprazole Losec/Prilosec AstraZeneca 2.6 (2004)
esomeprazole Nexium AstraZeneca 3.3 (2003)
Fexofenadine Telfast/Allegra Aventis 1.87 (2004)
quetiapine Seroquel AstraZeneca 1.5 (2003)
metoprolol Seloken/Toprol AstraZeneca 1.3 (2003)
budesonide Pulmicort/Rhinocort AstraZeneca 1.3 (2003) (plus some fraction of the $0.6bn sales of Symbicort)

See also

References

External links

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