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What is called medicine?

The word “medicine” is derived from Latin Medicus, meaning “a physician”.

What is called medicine?

Medicines are chemicals or compounds used to cure, halt, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. Advances in medicines have enabled doctors to cure many diseases and save lives.

The goals of medicine encompass the relief of pain and suffering, the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, the forestalling of death and the promoting of a peaceful death, and the cure of disease when possible and the care of those who can not be cured.

A medication (also called medicament, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.

What kind of science is medicine? Health science

Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. It is both an area of knowledge – a science of body systems, their diseases and treatment – and the applied practice of that knowledge.

What are the 4 categories of medicine?

Generally speaking, there are only four different types of medications that you would come across. These are:

  1. General Sales List.
  2. Pharmacy Medicines.
  3. Prescription Only Medicines.
  4. Controlled Drugs.

How many medicines are there?

There are over 20,000 prescription drug products approved for marketing. FDA oversees over 6,700 different medical device product categories.

Types of medicines

Most medicines come in a variety of types or formats. Be aware, though, that some medicines (particularly rare or unusual ones) only come in one type. Also, some may be more effective in one type than another.

Preparations

In the medicines often come in some of the following preparations:

Liquid

The active part of the medicine is combined with a liquid to make it easier to take or better absorbed. A liquid may also be called a ‘mixture’, ‘solution’ or ‘syrup’. Many common liquids are now available without any added colouring or sugar.

Tablet

The active ingredient is combined with another substance and pressed into a round or oval solid shape. There are different types of tablet. Soluble or dispersible tablets can safely be dissolved in water.

Capsules

The active part of the medicine is contained inside a plastic shell that dissolves slowly in the stomach. You can take some capsules apart and mix the contents with your child’s favourite food. Others need to be swallowed whole, so the medicine isn’t absorbed until the stomach acid breaks down the capsule shell.

Other types of medicine:

Topical medicines

These are creams, lotions or ointments applied directly onto the skin. They come in tubs, bottles or tubes depending on the type of medicine. The active part of the medicine is mixed with another substance, making it easy to apply to the skin.

Suppositories

The active part of the medicine is combined with another substance and pressed into a ‘bullet shape’ so it can be inserted into the bottom. Suppositories mustn’t be swallowed.

Drops

These are often used where the active part of the medicine works best if it reaches the affected area directly. They tend to be used for eye, ear or nose.

Inhalers

The active part of the medicine is released under pressure directly into the lungs. Young children may need to use a ‘spacer’ device to take the medicine properly. Inhalers can be difficult to use at first so your pharmacist will show you how to use them.

Injections

There are different types of injection, in how and where they’re injected. Subcutaneous or SC injections are given just under the surface of the skin. Intramuscular or IM injections are given into a muscle. Intrathecal injections are given into the fluid around the spinal cord. Intravenous or IV injections are given into a vein. Some injections can be given at home but most are given at your doctor’s surgery or in hospital.

Implants or patches

These medicines are absorbed through the skin, such as nicotine patches for help in giving up smoking, or contraceptive implants.

Tablets you don’t swallow (known as buccal or sublingual tablets or liquids)
These look like normal tablets or liquids, but you don’t swallow them. Buccal medicines are held in the cheek so the mouth lining absorbs the active ingredient. Sublingual medicines work in the same way but are put underneath the tongue. Buccal and sublingual medicines tend only to be given in very specific circumstances.

Further tips

When we’re prescribing medicine, remember to ask us about the different formats available. If you know from experience your child prefers tablets to liquids, please let us know. Wherever possible, we’ll prescribe the medicine in a format that makes it easier for your child to take it. You can also discuss this with your pharmacist when you hand in the prescription.

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