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Understanding How Drugs Work

Since the beginning of time, we have always been continuously finding ways to live longer, healthier lives. Because of this aspect of our human nature, we have developed methods cure diseases and stay healthy, especially now that newer technologies have emerged.

For many centuries, we have been concocting medications mostly taken from plants and chemicals. Even today, we still make use the same components in the creation of drugs that prevent and cure diseases, many of which have actually helped save countless number of lives over the years. With advancement in technology, we have even discovered new components that have helped cure life-threatening diseases.

There are two types of drugs, namely, recreational and pharmaceutical drugs. Recreational drugs are those used mainly for fun, or simply ‘to have a good time.’ These kinds of drugs are sometimes used to eliminate pain and certain medical conditions, but more often than not, these can be habitual drugs that do more harm than good when introduced to our bodies. Some drugs which belong to this category are: illegal stimulants, hallucinogens and narcotics. For pharmaceutical drugs, these are prescribed by a medical doctor to help treat various health problems, and the dosage of which may vary depending on the severity of the condition. These can either be prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, and the latter can be bought without a prescription from your medical practitioner.

How are drugs administered? There are several ways to do so: orally, in the forms of pills, capsules or tablets; intravenously, in the forms of injectables; inhalations, in the form of vapors; topically, such as in creams and lotions; vaginally and rectally in the forms of suppositories.

How do these drugs work? They usually start action once they get into the bloodstream. They function by preventing the production of proteins, microorganisms, or enzymes which trigger the occurrence of certain medical conditions. Here are some examples of drug function:

• Pain killers such as ibuprofen function by regulating prostaglandin production. Prostaglandin causes pain in the body and by regulating its production, pain can be reduced or even eliminated.
• Antihistamines which are anti-allergy drugs function by inhibiting histamine production. Histamines cause allergic reactions such as runny nose, swelling, as well as sneezing.
• Antibiotics work by inhibiting the growth and spread of microorganisms which bring about infections or diseases to the body. Tetracycline, doxycycline and anti-fungals are examples of such drugs.

Generally, you need to consult with a medical practitioner before taking any medication, so that you will not endanger yourself of any side effects.

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