What are prescription drugs & how do they work?
Prescription drugs, also known as prescription medications, are medicines prescribed by a doctor to treat medical conditions and illnesses. They are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must meet certain standards of safety, efficacy, and quality before being approved for use in the United States. Prescription drugs come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, injections, ointments, and inhalers. Some medications are intended to be taken on a regular basis, while others are used only when needed for short-term relief of symptoms.
In this article, we’ll discuss the various types of prescription drugs, how they work, and their potential side effects.
What is prescription medicine?
Prescription medicine is any medication that has been prescribed by a doctor, dentist, or other health care professional to treat illnesses and medical conditions. These drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy before they can be sold in the United States.
Prescription drugs come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, injections, ointments, and inhalers. Some medications are intended to be taken on a regular basis, while others are used only when needed for short-term relief of symptoms.
Prescription drugs can be categorized into two main types: brand name and generic. Brand-name drugs are those that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies through extensive research and clinical trials.
Generic drugs are chemically identical to their brand-name counterparts yet much less expensive. Generic drugs have also gone through the FDA’s approval process before they can be sold in the United States.
Why are prescription drugs dangerous?
Prescription medications can be very beneficial when used correctly, but they can also be potentially dangerous if taken incorrectly or abused. When taken without a doctor’s prescription and/or in dosages that are higher than what has been prescribed, prescription drugs can have serious side effects or even be life-threatening. It is important always to take the exact dosage of medication as directed by your healthcare provider.
Following are some of the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs without a doctor’s supervision:
- Overdose: Taking too much medication can lead to an overdose, which can be fatal.
- Drug Interactions: Certain medications should not be taken together as they can interact and cause serious side effects.
- Addiction: Some prescription drugs, such as painkillers and tranquilizers, can be habit-forming if taken in large doses or for long periods of time.
What is the difference between prescription drugs and OTC drugs?
OTC (over-the-counter) medications are not subject to FDA regulation like prescription medications because they do not require a doctor’s prescription. OTC medications are generally safer than prescription drugs and can be used to treat mild conditions like headaches, muscle aches, and colds.
However, they should not be taken in place of doctor-prescribed medication or for more serious illnesses as the effects can vary from person to person.
Following is a comparison of prescription and OTC medications:
- Prescription drugs are regulated by the FDA, while OTC drugs are not.
- Prescription drugs require a doctor’s order, while OTC drugs can be purchased without one.
- Prescription drugs can have more serious side effects than OTC drugs.
- Prescription drugs are often more expensive than OTC drugs.
- Prescription drugs can be addictive, while OTC medications are generally not.
Most addictive prescription drug
Unfortunately, some prescription medications can be highly addictive even when taken as prescribed by a doctor. The most common and dangerous of these are opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. These drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to block pain signals and produce a sense of euphoria. When abused, they can lead to addiction, overdose, and even death.
Other prescription medications that can be addictive include stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin, which are often prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These drugs work by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which can lead to feelings of pleasure, alertness, and energy. When taken for long periods of time or in large doses, they can become very addictive.
Side effects of prescription drug addiction
Prescription drug addiction can lead to serious physical and psychological side effects. Physically, the use of prescription medications can impair judgment leading to an increased risk of accidental injury or death. Overdose is also a major concern and can cause seizures, heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Psychologically, addiction to prescription drugs can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as changes in behavior such as aggression and recklessness. Other common side effects include difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, irrational thinking, feelings of worthlessness, and even suicidal thoughts or actions.
It is illegal to share prescription medications with anyone other than the person for whom they were prescribed. Sharing or selling prescription drugs is a form of drug diversion and is illegal in all 50 states.
It can also be dangerous for the person taking the medication as it could lead to an overdose or interactions between medications that have not been prescribed. Additionally, if you are found with someone else’s prescription drugs without authorization, you could face criminal charges.
Should I bring my prescriptions to a drug test?
It is not necessary to bring your prescription medications to a drug test. Generally, all that is required for the sample collection is providing the patient’s identifying information (name, date of birth, etc.).
However, if you are unsure about what medications you are taking or if you are taking any medications that could potentially interfere with the test results, it is important to tell the laboratory technician prior to collection.
Prescription drugs can be very helpful for treating certain medical conditions, but they should always be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider. It is important to understand the potential risks associated with taking prescription medications and to avoid sharing them with anyone else. Lastly, make sure you provide your doctor with any information about any medications you may be taking prior to undergoing a drug test.
By being aware of these potential risks and following your doctor’s instructions closely, you can ensure you get the most out of your prescription medications without putting yourself at risk.