Medicines

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Medicines are any substances given to a person or living organism to cause a certain effect, usually for a therapeutic or diagnostic purposes.

Classification[edit | edit source]

Medications can be classified in various ways,www.epgonline.org database of prescription pharmaceutical products including drug classifications [1] such as by chemical properties, mode or 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.

A sampling of classes of medicine includes:

  1. Antipyretics: reducing fever (pyrexia/pyresis)
  2. Analgesics: reducing pain (painkillers)
  3. Antimalarial 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)[edit | edit source]

For the gastrointestinal tract (digestive system)[edit | edit source]

For the cardiovascular system[edit | edit source]

For the central nervous system[edit | edit source]

Drugs affecting the central nervous system include: hypnotics, anaesthetics, antipsychotics, antidepressants (including tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, lithium salts, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)), antiemetics, anticonvulsants/antiepileptics, anxiolytics, barbiturates, movement disorder (e.g., Parkinson's disease) drugs, stimulants (including amphetamines), benzodiazepines, cyclopyrrolones, dopamine antagonists, antihistamines, cholinergics, anticholinergics, emetics, cannabinoids, and 5-HT (serotonin) antagonists.

For pain & consciousness (analgesic drugs)[edit | edit source]

The main classes of painkillers are NSAIDs, opioids and various orphans such as paracetamol, tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

For musculo-skeletal disorders[edit | edit source]

The main categories of drugs for musculoskeletal disorders are: NSAIDs (including COX-2 selective inhibitors), muscle relaxants, neuromuscular drugs, and anticholinesterases.

For the eye[edit | edit source]

For the ear, nose and oropharynx[edit | edit source]

sympathomimetics, antihistamines, anticholinergics, NSAIDs, steroids, antiseptics, local anesthetics, antifungals, cerumenolyti

For the respiratory system[edit | edit source]

bronchodilators, NSAIDs, anti-allergics, antitussives, mucolytics, decongestants
corticosteroids, Beta2-adrenergic agonists, anticholinergics, steroids

For endocrine problems[edit | edit source]

androgens, antiandrogens, gonadotropin, corticosteroids, human growth hormone, insulin, antidiabetics (sulfonylureas, biguanides/metformin, thiazolidinediones, insulin), thyroid hormones, antithyroid drugs, calcitonin, diphosponate, vasopressin analogues

For the reproductive system or urinary system[edit | edit source]

antifungal, alkalising agents, quinolones, antibiotics, cholinergics, anticholinergics, anticholinesterases, antispasmodics, 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, selective alpha-1 blockers, sildenafils, fertility medications

For contraception[edit | edit source]

For obstetrics and gynecology[edit | edit source]

NSAIDs, anticholinergics, haemostatic drugs, antifibrinolytics, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), bone regulators, beta-receptor agonists, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone, LHRH
gamolenic acid, gonadotropin release inhibitor, progestogen, dopamine agonists, oestrogen, prostaglandins, gonadorelin, clomiphene, tamoxifen, Diethylstilbestrol

For the skin[edit | edit source]

emollients, anti-pruritics, antifungals, disinfectants, scabicides, pediculicides, tar products, vitamin A derivatives, vitamin D analogues, keratolytics, abrasives, systemic antibiotics, topical antibiotics, hormones, desloughing agents, exudate absorbents, fibrinolytics, proteolytics, sunscreens, antiperspirants, corticosteroids

For infections and infestations[edit | edit source]

antibiotics, antifungals, antileprotics, antituberculous drugs, antimalarials, anthelmintics, amoebicides, antivirals, antiprotozoals

For the immune system[edit | edit source]

vaccines, immunoglobulins, immunosuppressants, interferons, monoclonal antibodies

For allergic disorders[edit | edit source]

anti-allergics, antihistamines, NSAIDs

For nutrition[edit | edit source]

tonics, iron preparations, electrolytes, parenteral nutritional supplements, vitamins, anti-obesity drugs, anabolic drugs, haematopoietic drugs, food product drugs

For neoplastic disorders[edit | edit source]

cytotoxic drugs, therapeutic antibodies, sex hormones, aromatase inhibitors, somatostatin inhibitors, recombinant interleukins, G-CSF, erythropoietin

For diagnostics[edit | edit source]

contrast media

For euthanasia[edit | edit source]

An euthanaticum is used for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

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

Legal considerations[edit | edit source]

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. A third category, behind-the-counter medications (BTMs), is implemented in some jurisdictions. BTMs do not require a prescription, but must be kept in the dispensary, not visible to the public, and only be sold by a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

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.

In some countries, government-regulated cannabis is available by prescription.

Blockbuster drug[edit | edit source]

A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. ""Blockbuster medicine" is defined as being one which achieves annual revenues of over US$ 1 billion at global level." in European Commission, Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry, Preliminary Report (DG Competition Staff Working Paper), 28 November 2008, page 17 (pdf, 1.95 MB).

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[edit | edit source]

Drug Trade name Company SalesPharmaceutical Market Trends, 2006-2010, from Urch PublishingBlockbuster Drugs 2006: Executive Overview, from Report Buyer (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[edit | edit source]

Also see[edit source]

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Medicines Resources
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