Prescription drug

Photo of the packaging of four medicines registered in the UK, showing their Product Licence Numbers and symbols denoting if they are Prescription Only Medicine (POM) or Pharmacy Medicine (P)

Pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed.

- Prescription drug
Photo of the packaging of four medicines registered in the UK, showing their Product Licence Numbers and symbols denoting if they are Prescription Only Medicine (POM) or Pharmacy Medicine (P)

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Diagram showing the provision of medication under the PBS, as at 2008

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Diagram showing the provision of medication under the PBS, as at 2008

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a program of the Australian Government that subsidises prescription medication for Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as international visitors covered by a reciprocal health care agreement.

The prescription symbol, ℞, as printed on the blister pack of a prescription drug

Medical prescription

The prescription symbol, ℞, as printed on the blister pack of a prescription drug

A prescription, often abbreviated ℞ or Rx, is a formal communication from a physician or other registered health-care professional to a pharmacist, authorizing them to dispense a specific prescription drug for a specific patient.

A package insert from 1970, with Ovrette brand contraception pills

Medication package insert

Document included in the package of a medication that provides information about that drug and its use.

Document included in the package of a medication that provides information about that drug and its use.

A package insert from 1970, with Ovrette brand contraception pills
cartoon depicting the package insert as overly long and complicated

For prescription medications, the insert is technical, providing information for medical professionals about how to prescribe the drug.

OTC medication with child-resistant packaging (cap) and tamper-resistant carton and innerseal

Over-the-counter drug

OTC medication with child-resistant packaging (cap) and tamper-resistant carton and innerseal
Photo of the packaging of four medicines showing their Product Licence Numbers and symbols denoting if they are Prescription Only Medicine (POM) or Pharmacy Medicine (P)
Plan B One-Step

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines sold directly to a consumer without a requirement for a prescription from a healthcare professional, as opposed to prescription drugs, which may be supplied only to consumers possessing a valid prescription.

A tin containing drugs and drug paraphernalia

Substance abuse

Use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others.

Use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others.

A tin containing drugs and drug paraphernalia
A person sniffing an inhalant
A drug user receiving an injection of the opiate heroin
A 2010 study ranking various illegal and legal drugs based on statements by drug-harm experts. Alcohol was found to be the overall most dangerous drug.
1991 Indian postage stamp bearing the slogan – Beware of drugs
Drug use is higher in countries with high economic inequality
Total recorded alcohol per capita consumption (15+), in litres of pure alcohol<ref>Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004</ref>
Total yearly U.S. drug deaths.<ref name=NIDA-deaths>Overdose Death Rates. By National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).</ref>
US yearly overdose deaths, and the drugs involved.<ref name=NIDA-deaths/>

Drug misuse is a term used commonly when prescription medication with sedative, anxiolytic, analgesic, or stimulant properties are used for mood alteration or intoxication ignoring the fact that overdose of such medicines can sometimes have serious adverse effects.

Food and Drug Administration

Federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

FDA Building 31 houses the Office of the Commissioner and the Office of Regulatory Department of Health and Human Services. The agency consists of fourteen Centers and Offices:
FDA Building 66 houses the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
The Arkansas Laboratory in Jefferson, Arkansas is the headquarters of the National Center for Toxicological Research
Jamaica, Queens, NY Regional Office - USFDA
FDA Building 51 houses the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
FDA scientist prepares blood donation samples for testing
FDA Building 62 houses the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
FDA lab at Building 64 in Silver Spring, Maryland
Harvey W. Wiley, chief advocate of the Food and Drug Act
Medical Officer Alexander Fleming, M. D., examines a portion of a 240-volume new drug application around the late 1980s. Applications grew considerably after the efficacy mandate under the 1962 Drug Amendments.

The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.

Opium poppies such as this one provide ingredients for the class of analgesics called opiates

Analgesic

Analgesic, pain reliever, or painkiller, is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve relief from pain .

Analgesic, pain reliever, or painkiller, is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve relief from pain .

Opium poppies such as this one provide ingredients for the class of analgesics called opiates
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Various analgesics, such as many NSAIDs, are available over the counter in most countries, whereas various others are prescription drugs owing to the substantial risks and high chances of overdose, misuse, and addiction in the absence of medical supervision.

Packages of medication

Off-label use

Use of pharmaceutical drugs for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, dosage, or route of administration.

Use of pharmaceutical drugs for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, dosage, or route of administration.

Packages of medication

Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) can be used in off-label ways, although most studies of off-label use focus on prescription drugs.

Uncoated aspirin tablets, consisting of about 90% acetylsalicylic acid, along with a minor amount of inert fillers and binders. Aspirin is a pharmaceutical drug often used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.

Controlled substance

Uncoated aspirin tablets, consisting of about 90% acetylsalicylic acid, along with a minor amount of inert fillers and binders. Aspirin is a pharmaceutical drug often used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.

A controlled substance is generally a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession and use is regulated by a government, such as illicitly used drugs or prescription medications that are designated by law.

An antique selection of herbal medicines

Herbal medicine

Study of pharmacognosy and the use of medicinal plants, which are a basis of traditional medicine.

Study of pharmacognosy and the use of medicinal plants, which are a basis of traditional medicine.

An antique selection of herbal medicines
A physician preparing an elixir, from an Arabic version of Dioscorides's pharmacopoeia, 1224
Leaves of Eucalyptus olida being packed into a steam distillation unit to gather its essential oil
A herb shop in the souk of Marrakesh, Morocco
Datura stramonium has been used in Ayurveda for various treatments, but contains alkaloids, such as atropine and scopolamine, which may cause severe toxicity.
A herbalist gathers the flower heads of Arnica montana.
An example of a herbal medicine resource: the bark of the cinchona tree contains quinine, which today is a widely prescribed treatment for malaria. The unpurified bark is still used by some who can not afford to purchase more expensive antimalarial drugs.
Ready to drink macerated medicinal liquor with goji berry, tokay gecko, and ginseng, for sale at a traditional medicine market in Xi'an, China.
A platter of herbal medicines at Goa, India
Different types of Indonesian jamu herbal medicines held in bottles

Some prescription drugs have a basis as herbal remedies, including artemisinin, digitalis, quinine and taxanes.