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Medicines and drugs. Option D Part 1. What is a drug? What is the difference between a drug and a medicine? List different types of medicines. How are new drugs developed? .

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medicines and drugs

Medicines and drugs

Option D

Part 1


What is a drug?

  • What is the difference between a drug and a medicine?
  • List different types of medicines.
  • How are new drugs developed?
pharmaceutical products
Pharmaceutical products

A medicine or drug is any chemical that does one or more of the following to the human body:

  • alters its physiological state (=how it functions), including consciousness, activity level or coordination
  • alters incoming sensory sensations
  • alters mood or emotions
stages in development of a drug
Stages in development of a drug
  • Identify disease, could be new disease.
  • Identify target e.g. gene or enzyme which is necessary for disease to progress.
  • Identify ‘lead’ molecule which can act on gene/enzyme in the disease organism or host and isolate or manufacture it.
  • Preclinical trials: testing of ‘lead molecule’ in laboratory,
    • ‘in vitro’: the lead molecule is tested on animal/human cells and tissues which have been removed from the body and are kept in an artificial environment
    • ‘in vivo’: testing in live animals (usually 3 different species) to establish LD50 which is the amount which kills 50 % of animal population.
stages in development of drug
Stages in development of drug
  • Clinical trials: on humans!!
    • Testing of its effectiveness and dose range on humans using the placebo effect. This is a ‘blind trial’ in which half of the people/patients involved are given the drug whilst the other half are given a similar substance which is not the drug but none of the patients know which half they are in. All patients should/could experience placebo.
    • Structural modifications likely to be made to, for instance, improve effectiveness or reduce side-effects.
  • Submission of reports on drug and its trials to regulatory bodies.
  • Monitoring of the drug after it has been launched; molecule might need further structural changes.
administering drugs 1
Administering drugs (1)
  • Oral: taken in by the mouth e.g. tablets, syrups, capsules.
  • Parenteral - by injection:
    • intravenous: into a vein of the blood stream – used for immediate impacts as its fastest method; drug is immediately pumped around the body by the blood.
    • intramuscular i.e. into the muscles, e.g. many vaccines, local anaesthetics, usually used when a large dose needs to be administered.
    • subcutaneous: in the layer of the skin directly below the cutis (dermis and epidermis) e.g. dental injections, morphine, insulin. Slow.
administering drugs 2
Administering drugs (2)
  • Inhalation: e.g. medication for respiratory conditions such as asthma.
  • Rectal: inserted into the rectum e.g. treatment for digestive illnesses, drug absorbed into the blood stream.
  • Skin patches: e.g. hormone treatments.
discuss the following terms
Discuss the following terms
  • dosing regime
  • tolerance
  • therapeutic effect
  • side-effects
  • therapeutic window
  • Dosing regime= the amount of drug used for each dose i.e. how much drug should be taken (amount + frequency) to obtain desired therapeutic effect.
  • Tolerance

Tolerance refers to the body’s reduced response to a drug i.e. its therapeutic effect is less than what it is intended, usually as a result of taking the drug over a long period of time. As a result more of the drug needs to be taken to achieve the same initial physiological effect with the danger of exceeding the lethal dose.

therapeutic window 1
therapeutic window (1)
  • The therapeutic window is the range of dosage over which a drug can be safely administered to a typical population. It is the range in concentration in the blood within which an administered drug must remain. The therapeutic window has a lowest and highest level.
  • The lowest level of concentration is called the effective or therapeutic level or ED50; below this level the drug loses its therapeutic effect.
  • The highest level is the toxic or LD50 level (= the dose needed to kill 50 % of (animal) population) above which adverse side-effects can occur.
therapeutic window 2
therapeutic window (2)
  • wide therapeutic window
    • small effective dose (ED50) and larger lethal dose (LD50) as a result there is a big difference between effective and lethal dose.
  • narrow therapeutic window
    • small difference between effective and lethal dose usually because lethal dose is small.
types of effects
Types of effects
  • Side-effects= physiological effects which are not intended and therefore undesired (intended = therapeutic effects); these could be:
    • beneficial e.g. protect against heart disease.
    • benign e.g. causing drowsiness, nausea constipation.
    • adverse i.e. causing damage to other organs.
  • Placebo effect
    • The placebo effect occurs when a person experiences a positive therapeutic effect although a substance which is not a drug has been administered; the human body is fooled into healing itself naturally.