ETYM French drogue, prob. from Dutch droog; akin to Eng. dry; thus orig., dry substance, hers, plants, or wares. Related to Dry.
Any of a range of substances, natural or synthetic, administered to humans and animals as therapeutic agents: to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease, or to assist recovery from injury. Traditionally many drugs were obtained from plants or animals; some minerals also had medicinal value. Today, increasing numbers of drugs are synthesized in the laboratory.
Drugs are administered in various ways, including: orally, by injection, as a lotion or ointment, as a pessary, by inhalation, and by transdermal patch.
Drugs generally have three names. The first is the chemical name, which is often too complicated to remember. Every new drug, if it is likely to have a medical application, is given an approved (generic or non-proprietary) name, for example, by the British Pharmacopoeia Commission. Such a drug may have BP (British Pharmacopoeia); BPC (British Pharmaceutical Codex); or USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) after its name. Drugs may be marketed under their approved name, but more often they are known by the proprietary, or trade, names given to them by the manufacturing company which initially takes out a patent on their synthesis. One compound may have a large number of proprietary names. (See also drug, generic).
Something that is used as a medicine or narcotic.
ETYM Latin medicina (sc. ars), from medicinus medical, from medicus: cf. French médecine. Related to Medical.
The practice of preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease, both physical and mental; also any substance used in the treatment of disease. The basis of medicine is anatomy (the structure and form of the body) and physiology (the study of the body's functions).
In the West, medicine increasingly relies on new drugs and sophisticated surgical techniques, while diagnosis of disease is more and more by noninvasive procedures. The time and cost of Western-type medical training makes it inaccessible to many parts of the Third World; where health care of this kind is provided it is often by auxiliary medical helpers trained in hygiene and the administration of a limited number of standard drugs for the prevalent diseases of a particular region.
1. Something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease; SYN. medication, medicament, medicinal drug.
2. The branches of medical science that deal with nonsurgical techniques.
3. The learned profession that is mastered by graduate training in a medical school and that is devoted to preventing or alleviating or curing diseases and injuries; SYN. practice of medicine.