AskDefine | Define medications

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of medication

Extensive Definition

Medication, also referred to as medicine, is usually a drug or any other substance used to prevent or cure disease or to relieve pain, anxiety or any form of perceived discomfort, such as hunger. Medication is often used to mean the act of administering medicines or drugs. Other synonyms include pharmacotherapy, pharmacotherapeutics, drug treatment. Drug treatment, that is: The administration of drugs with therapeutic intention, usually characterizes and distinguishes the practice of Medicine (and the Medical Specialties) from the art of Surgery (and its derived Surgical Specialties). This practical (more than theoretical) distintcion if deeply rooted in the History of Medicine. The science of administering drugs to humans in the clinical setting is termed clinical pharmacology. The emphasis on drug treatment plays an essential role in distinguishing medical from surgical practice.


Medication can be usually classified in various ways, e.g. by its chemical properties, mode of administration, or biological system affected. An elaborate and widely used classification system is the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC system).
Types of medicines:
  1. Antipyretics : reducing fever (pyrexia)
  2. Analgesics : painkillers
  3. Anti-malarial drugs : treating malaria
  4. Antibiotics : inhibiting germ growth
  5. Antiseptics : prevention of germ growth near burns, cuts and wounds

Types of medication

For the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system

For pain & consciousness (analgesic drugs)

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

For musculo-skeletal disorders

NSAIDs (including COX-2 selective inhibitors), muscle relaxant, neuromuscular drug anticholinesterase

For the eye

For the reproductive system or urinary system

antifungal, alkalising agent, quinolones, antibiotic, cholinergic, anticholinergic, anticholinesterase, antispasmodic, 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, selective alpha-1 blocker, sildenafil, fertility medication

For infections and infestations

antibiotic, antifungal, antileprotic, antituberculous drug, antimalarial, anthelmintic, amoebicide, antiviral, antiprotozoal

For allergic disorders

anti-allergic, antihistamine, NSAIDs

For nutrition

tonic, iron preparation, electrolyte, parenteral nutritional supplement, vitamins, anti-obesity drug, anabolic drug, haematopoietic drug, food product drug

For neoplastic disorders

cytotoxic drug, sex hormones, aromatase inhibitor, somatostatin inhibitor, recombinant interleukins, G-CSF, erythropoietin

For diagnostics

contrast media

For euthanasia

An euthanaticum is used for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, see also barbiturates.
Euthanasia is not permitted by law in many countries, and consequently medicines will not be licenesed for this use in those countries.

Legal considerations

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.
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.

Other/related topics

Polypharmacy: suggests that multiple use of prescribed and non-prescribed medications, (use of 5 or more), can have adverse effects on the recipient.
Zoopharmacognosy: Animal usage of drugs and non-foods.

Blockbuster drug

A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. The search for blockbusters has been the foundation of the R&D strategy adopted by big pharmaceutical companies, but this looks set to change. New advances in genomics, and the promise of personalized medicine, are likely to fragment the pharmaceutical market.
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

See also


medications in Afrikaans: Geneesmiddel
medications in Tosk Albanian: Medikament
medications in Arabic: دواء
medications in Asturian: Melecina
medications in Bosnian: Lijek
medications in Catalan: Medicament
medications in Czech: Léčivo
medications in Danish: Lægemiddel
medications in German: Medikament
medications in Spanish: Medicamento
medications in Esperanto: Kuracilo
medications in Basque: Farmako
medications in Persian: دارو
medications in French: Médicament
medications in Korean: 의약품
medications in Ido: Medikamento
medications in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Medicamento
medications in Italian: Farmaco
medications in Hebrew: תרופה
medications in Lithuanian: Vaistas
medications in Hungarian: Gyógyszer
medications in Dutch: Geneesmiddel
medications in Norwegian: Legemiddel
medications in Polish: Farmakoterapia
medications in Portuguese: Medicamento
medications in Quechua: Hampi
medications in Russian: Лекарственные средства
medications in Sicilian: Fàrmacu
medications in Simple English: Medication
medications in Slovak: Farmakoterapia
medications in Slovenian: Zdravilo
medications in Serbian: Лек
medications in Finnish: Lääke
medications in Swedish: Läkemedel
medications in Thai: ยา
medications in Turkish: İlaç
medications in Yiddish: מעדיצין
medications in Chinese: 藥物治療
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