What Is A Pharmaceutical Drug?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,189
    Science expert Emerald Robinson explains what a pharmaceutical drug is and how they help us stay healthy.

    Emerald Robinson: Hi! I am Emerald Robinson, and in this What Is video, we're going to answer the question, what is a pharmaceutical drug? Pharmaceutical drugs, more commonly called medicines or medications, are any chemical substances used to prevent, cure, determine the cause of, or relieve the symptoms of a disease or illness.

    There are many ways to classify pharmaceutical drugs, and, in turn, literally hundreds of groups of medications. But, we can break all medicines down into two large categories; prescription and over-the-counter. Prescription pharmaceutical drugs are any drugs that require a prescription, that is, a written order from a doctor, dentist, veterinarian, or other licensed medical practitioner.

    These professionals are able to prescribe drugs because they know how different medications interact with one another, and how much of each medicine will help a patient feel better. Prescriptions are filled by other professionals called Pharmacists who work closely with doctors and patients to ensure that the right dose is given to the patient, and that the patient understands how to take the drug properly.

    Prescription drugs are sometimes represented by Rx. Over-the-counter, or OTC pharmaceutical drugs are medications that can be bought without a prescription. These medicines can be safely used by patients who follow the directions provided by the drug maker. Common examples of OTC drugs are aspirin, cough medicines, and antacids.

    Pharmaceutical drugs are administered or given to patients in many different ways. Some of the most familiar forms of pharmaceutical drugs are pills and capsules. But, medicines are also administered through injection or by i.

    v. directly into a vein. Other examples include eye and ear drops, and creams and ointments.

    There is no question that pharmaceutical drugs have improved the health of humans throughout history. Antibiotics like penicillin and drugs used to combat malaria have saved hundreds of millions of lives all over the world.