Facts about prescription drugs

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In recent days, there has been much talk about the technological boom that has hit every little corner of our planet. While technology development has shown an exponential increase, there is yet another field of science that has shown an equivalent and almost parallel rise in its development that has majorly impacted the earth and its inhabitants. The science we call pharma!

Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have extended their hands to form ties with biotechnology experts and have succeeded in concatenating drugs that aid in medicinal practices. Such prescription drugs are to be administered only with advice from an expert as overdose of the same may prove to be fatal.

The facts given below highlight the pros and cons of prescription drugs.

1. Many prescription medications are just as addicting as illicit drugs.
Most narcotic drugs have some medicinal value when taken in optimal quantities. These drugs are concatenated into legal prescription drugs to avoid overuse and hence overexposure.

2. Around 25% of drug-related emergency department admissions are due to the abuse or misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
While drugs are known for their anesthetic and sedative properties, an overexposure to the same can be extremely harmful and sometimes fatal. Over use may occur either due to an individual’s or the doctor’s carelessness. Michael Jackson’s death was believed to have been due to an overdose of drugs.

3. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.

4. Prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused category of drugs, behind alcohol and marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Though it is believed that it is easier to keep a tab on the use of prescription drugs, it is astounding to know how prescribed drugs are misused just as often as illegal drugs.

5. Painkillers, Depressants and stimulants are all prescription drugs.
Prescription painkillers often contain opioids that are either naturally derived from poppy flowers, or a lab made, semi-synthetic substitute.
The groups of depressants include barbiturates, which are often prescribed to promote sleep. Benzodiazepines, like valium and Xanax are prescribed to relieve anxiety.
Prescription stimulants affect the brain through a slow and steady release of two neurotransmitters- dopamine and norepinephrine.

6. What they actually are.
A prescription drug is defined as a pharmaceutical dug that legally requires a prescription from the doctor to be dispensed. Over the counter drugs however, can be obtained without a prescription.

7. How they work.
Drugs attach to particular sites in the brain called receptors that carry messages to the brain. Due to this, the receptors are either activated or silenced to produce a particular response.

8. Effects of drug abuse.
All of the commonly abused prescription drugs are addictive. One of the primary effects of prescription drug abuse is addiction. Overdose of drugs may also lead to hallucination. Initially the user gets a sense of euphoria, but when the effect of the drug starts to die out, they might get uncontrollable.

9. Effects of prescription drugs on pregnancy.
Commonly used over-the-counter medicines, along with substances such as caffeine and alcohol, can have lasting effects on an unborn child. Studies show that using drugs, be it legal or illegal, during pregnancy has a direct impact on the fetus. These children have a host of developmental problems.

10. Even commonly used prescription drugs such as cough syrup may be addictive.
Cough suppressant contain dextromethorphan (DXM) can be very addictive and produces a distorted awareness and hallucinations when taken in large quantities.

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