What Is a Prototype Drug?

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A prototype drug is the first form of a drug or medication that is used to create alternative forms, states Drugs.com. Prototype drugs are also called lead agents, according to Virginia Commonwealth University.

According to Weber State University, aspirin is a prototype drug that acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic or pain killer. This class of drugs provides relief from pain, but does not address the cause of the pain. Drugs derived from the prototype drug aspirin include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These are both aspirin-like drugs, although the specific benefits may differ. For example, acetaminophen has fewer side effects than aspirin, but it does not produce the same anti-inflammatory effects.