Understanding Medicines Medicine
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Understanding Medicines Medicine

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Understanding Medicines Medicine

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Understanding Medicines



Definition: substances that, when taken internally or applied to the body, help prevent or cure a disease or other medical problem


Prevent disease

Fight pathogens

(microorganisms that enter the body and attack its cells and tissues)

Relieve pain

Help the heart and regulate blood pressure


Medicines that prevent disease


Contain a weakened or dead pathogen to a particular disease

Given to prevent one from contracting that disease

When the body is exposed to the vaccine it makes antibodies against that disease

These antibodies stay in the body so when exposed to the real disease the body is prepared to fight it off


Extracts of blood fluids that contain antibodies

Act more quickly than vaccines

Are made by inoculating animals and uses their antibodies

Injected into human after a possible exposure


Medicines that fight pathogens


Chemical agents that destroy disease causing microorganisms but leave the patient unharmed

Penicillin- discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming

They either kill the bacteria or stop it from reproducing

ARE NOT affective against viruses

Several bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics

When someone doesn’t take the full amount of an antibiotic, or stops taking it early, the bacteria becomes more resistant to that antibiotic


Medicine to relieve pain


OTC analgesics can be harmful

Stomach irritation- ulcers

Thins the blood making clotting difficult

Dizziness and tinnitus

Reye’s syndrome in children (illness of brain and liver)

Common OTC analgesics


Ibuprofen (Advil)- anti-inflammatory

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)


Prescription only

Can be highly addictive

Commonly derivatives of morphine and codeine


Analgesics (Pain Relievers)

Aspirin: relieve pain and reduce fever

-Blood Thinner

-upset stomach, dizziness and ringing in ears

-Reye’s Syndrome (brain and liver)

Recommended for your age:


Analgesics have a full range from mild to strong




Managing Chronic Conditions

Treat long term illnesses, maintain or restore health, offer a higher level of wellness.

-Allergy Medicines: Antihistamines reduce allergy symptoms by blocking the chemical release from the immune system.

Life threatening=single shot of epinephrine

Body-regulating medicines: help regulate body chemistry

-Insulin, Inhaler, cardiovascular

Antidepressant and Antipsychotic: Help regulate brain chemistry or stabilize moods.

Cancer Treatments: slow or stop the growth of the cancer cells.


Cardiovascular medicines

Five types

Beta blockers- helps slow heart rate and lower blood pressure

Diuretics- decreases water and sodium, reducing blood fluid volume, especially important after heart failure

Vasodilators- dilate blood vessels to increase blood and oxygen flow

Antiarrhythmic- help control abnormal heart rhythms

Clot- Dissolving – lower hypertension and prevents blot clotting


How Medicines can Enter the Body

There are four ways they can enter

1. oral medications (by mouth)

2. topical medications (through the skin)

3. Inhaled medications (breathed in through the lungs)

4. Injected medications (through a needle, or bite)


Reactions in the body

Be aware of side effects.

When two medicines are taken together or taken with certain foods- the effect may not be the same when the medicine is taken by itself.


interactions- when medicines work together in a positive way

Synergistic effect- when two or more medicines react resulting in a greater effect than when taken alone

Antagonistic interaction- when the effect of a medicine is cancelled or reduced by another medicine

Tolerance- when the body becomes used to the effects and so needs more to get same results

Withdrawal- when someone stops using a medicine and the body reacts to the lack of it in the system


Medicine Safety

Always keep medicine in the original container, with the original label.

Store medicine out of reach of children.

If children are in the house always use the child proof caps provided.

Throw out ALL medicines after their expiration dates.

Know the possible side effects.

Use medicine as directed and for the entire time directed.


Medicine Misuse

Definition: using a medication in a way other than the one intended.

Examples of misuse

Giving your prescription to someone else

Taking too much or too little of the medication

Taking someone else’s medication

Stopping use without informing the prescribing doctor

Taking medicine longer then directed

Mixing medicines without direction to do so from a doctor


Medicine Abuse

Intentionally taking medications for nonmedical reasons.

-to lose weight

-to stay awake

-to fit in

-”pill parties”

-taking someone else's prescription


Drug Overdose

A strong sometimes fatal reaction to taking a large amount of a drug.


FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

Makes sure all drugs are safe to use

Finds out what possible side effects there are

Doesn’t regulate Herbal and Dietary Supplements

Goes through clinical Trials, could still be experimental.


Prescription Medicines

: medicines that are dispensed only with the written approval of licensed physician or nurse practitioner.

Over-the-Counter (OTC)

: medicines you can buy without a

doctor’s prescription.