Understanding Drugs

All drugs, even the familiar ones such as aspirin, may have potentially harmful as well as beneficial effects. Whether you are prescribed drug treatment or you choose remedies for yourself, you will gain most benefit from drugs if you understand how they are likely to act and how to use them safely and effectively.

During the last century, advances in drug treatment have enabled doctors to cure many conditions, including a wide range of infectious diseases. Drug treatment can also be used to control symptoms in disorders such as epilepsy and to relieve common symptoms such as itching. Today, there is a vast range of drugs available for many purposes. Some drugs can be bought over the counter, other types require a doctor’s prescription.

The first article in this section covers the types of effect that various drugs may have on the body. The second article gives practical advice on how to use medications effectively and how to store drugs safely.

Courses of vaccination

Most drugs are used in the treatment of disease. However, vaccines may be given to prevent certain diseases, such as diphtheria or tetanus, from developing.

How Drugs Affect you

Managing your Medication

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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