Category:Prescription Drugs

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Drugs are substances which change bodily functions when ingested. Drugs are taken to cure a condition, to ease symptoms, or to prevent conditions from developing. Prescription drugs, as opposed to over-the-counter drugs, are regulated medications that must be authorized for sale or distribution by licensed physicians, nurse practitioners, paramedics, dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians.

Drugs which are available only by prescription are tightly controlled. Prescription drugs must be prescribed, or ordered, within certain guidelines, and must be dispensed by licensed pharmacists. Some drugs, like certain pain medications, have even more severe restrictions.

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U.S. regulation FDA
FDA Division of Drug Information (888) 463-6332
New drug applications 23-37 annually[1]
New drug approvals 18-26 annually[1]
Used by 48% of the US population in a given month[2]
Most frequently prescribed Analgesics, antihyperlipidemic agents, antidepressants[2]
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Colette Larson
 
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Contents

About Prescription Drugs

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act determines which medications require a prescription based on their potential for harmful effects, special safety considerations, or method of delivery. Some medications, such as Motrin and Plan B, have dual labels. This means that they can be dispensed either as an over-the-counter or a prescription medication depending on specific conditions or dosages.

A prescription drug is distributed with a package insert, called a label or monograph, that contains information about the drug's intended effect and how it works in the body. Monographs also contain information about how the drug should be taken and its possible side effects, and information about how the drug affects specific groups of people like children, the elderly, or pregnant or nursing women. The monograph also includes any warnings, precautions, contraindications (reasons a drug should not be taken), and signs and symptoms of allergic response to the medication.

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Drug Warnings

"Black box warnings", in particular, are listed at the top of drug monographs. A boxed warning is the strongest possible FDA warning, and can indicate serious or possibly life-threatening risks to certain populations or to all users of a drug. Some examples of boxed warnings include:

  • Antidepressant medications may cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults.
  • Certain antipsychotic drugs carry a warning of increased risk of death in older patients with dementia.
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics have a black box warning because they have been linked to an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon ruptures.
  • Warfarin monographs contain a boxed warning about possible major or fatal bleeding.

Many other medications carry boxed warnings. All warnings do not apply to all patients.


Prescription Drugs

About prescription drugs
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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/UCM247465.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drugs.htm

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