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Medicines Drugs

In this section you can find out about:

Medicines names - are categorised into three terms:-

  • Generic name,- which is the official name of the basic active substance- this is decided by the Nomenclature Committee of the British Pharmacopoeia Commission

  • Brand name- this is chosen by the manufacturer, memorable ,catchy that sort of thing

  • Chemical name- which is the technical description

General names:

medicines are often grouped together for instance medicines for high blood pressure- antihypertensives or for sickness and vomiting –antiemetics there will be a lot of drugs within that category , and they can also have properties in them which mean that they are good in other illnesses too.

Legal classification:

This is where the medicines are divided into which can be sold over the counter at your pharmacy /chemist and the availability of them and to what degree these can be open to abuse. Medicines which are regulated are classified into how harmful they are when abused.

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Classes of drugs what are they?

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 prohibits activities relating to the sale production and possession of some drugs

  • Class A - these are the drugs which have the most harmful effects -   these include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD
  • Class B - these drugs are less dangerous than Class A ones, but they still are a threat if misused -  Class B drugs include speed and other amphetamines
  • Class C - these drugs are less dangerous to the user than Class A and Class B drugs. However, they are still illegal and can be harmful. Class C drugs include cannabis, GHB, GBH, Liquid Ecstasy and some tranquilisers

If you would like to look into the subject of drug misuse or have a problem with drugs there are organisations that can help here are some useful websites

talk to frank – this website has a test for people to check out your knowledge regarding drugs – You can contact “Frank” confidentially if you or a friend have problems with drugs. – Good drug information and help for all involved

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Important drug interactions
- This is important if medicines are taken in combination with certain foods or alcohol or indeed other drugs can cause altered effectiveness –

  • Altered absorption – some drugs –opioids –slow the digestion and therefore may affect the absorption rate of another drug.

  • Enzyme effects – some drugs may increase or decrease the productions of enzymes in the liver which are necessary to affect the rate other drugs are activated or inactivated

  • Excretion of drugs – sometimes some drugs reduce the effectiveness of the kidneys to excrete another drug raising the concentrated levels in the body

Medicines which depress the central nervous system:

Opioids, antihistamines, sleeping pills, alcohol = two or more of these will cause serious over sedation

Medicines which lower the blood sugar levels:

Sulphonamides + alcohol = Increased effectiveness of the sulphonamide dropping the blood sugar levels

Monoamine Oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs):

Cheese/chocolate/red wine/beer/herring or amphetamines and decongestants + MAOIs = severe increase in blood pressure

Most medicines are absorbed:
Systemic= general body

Systemic effect - Medicine > stomach > small intestines > liver > general body circulation

Systemic and sometimes local effect - Medicine > rectum > blood stream > general body circulation

Systemic or local effect -Medication > lungs >bloodstream >body/brain

Localised >skin/lotions/inhalers/eye drops/bladder/vaginal

Systemic or local:

  • Intramuscular- into the muscle /upper thigh /upper arm/ buttock

  • Intravenous – into vein drugs act more rapidly

  • Subcutaneous –  under the surface of the skin

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