It is still a highly contentious issue but medical marijuana is making in-roads in the United States as an accepted form of treatment for certain conditions. Many people still look upon marijuana with disdain but there may be more to this herb in medical terms than was previously thought. Ongoing research and the results of studies over the years has supported the use of medical marijuana in some instances, to the point that it is being legalized in the different American states at a much faster rate than was previously seen.
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Antibiotics are one of the potentially life-saving drugs that have revolutionized modern medicine. It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria and some other parasites. Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, many people would die from bacterial infections that are considered minor these days. It is therefore not surprising that at least one or two types of antibiotics feature on the top 10 list of most prescribed drugs in the United States. But antibiotics can be ineffective, harmful and even deadly if it is not used properly.
Blood thinning agents are a group of drugs that prevent blood clot formation. With the prevalence of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) these days, blood thinners are a commonly prescribed drug. It is a life-saving medication that can prevent a blood clot from blocking one of the arteries to a vital organ. When a clot blocks the blood supply to the heart, it can lead to a heart attack. If it happens in an artery to the brain, it can cause a stroke. Although any artery can become blocked if narrowed, it is the possibility of a heart attack and a stroke that is most commonly the cause for concern. These conditions can be fatal.
Medication to relieve heartburn is some of the most commonly prescribed and purchased drugs. Some are available over-the-counter (OTC) while others can only be obtained with a prescription from a medical doctor. Heartburn is just a symptom. These drugs target the root cause of heartburn, which is acid reflux. While heartburn medication can vary in the way they work, they offer relief within minutes and even be used to prevent heartburn for several hours. Through one way or the other, these drugs counteracting the effects of acidic stomach contents in the esophagus. Heartburn medication are not anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers (analgesics) that just numbs the sensation.
Antacids are among the most commonly used over-the-counter (OTC) medication after pain, cough, cold and smoking cessation drugs. We all experience indigestion at some point or the other in life. And for some of us, heartburn and indigestion are a daily occurrence. Antacids are a quick, inexpensive and easily accessible remedy. As an over-the-counter product its use is fairly unrestricted despite warnings on package inserts. It is therefore possible that some of the digestive symptoms that you may be experiencing may in fact be due to the overuse of antacids.
Psoriasis Medication Systemic Therapy
The term ‘systemic therapy’ is sometimes confusing to patients. It simple means that substances will be used that can have an effect throughout the body. In other words it is not isolated to a specific area. Psoriasis systemic therapy involves the use of drugs that are taken through the mouth (oral medication) or drugs that are injected into the body (parenteral medication).
Mild psoriasis and the early stages of psoriasis can be treated with psoriasis creams and lotions. This treatment is topical meaning that it is only applied on the skin at the area where the problem exists. Once the psoriasis worsens and the topical treatment is not giving the desired effect, systemic therapy is considered. In most cases this involves the use of oral medication in the form of tablets or capsules.
Several treatment options are available for psoriasis, but the outcome of treatment is often not satisfactory. Psoriasis may be controlled either by topical or systemic therapy. Topical treatment involves the use of creams, lotions, gels and sprays on the skin surface and it has a localized effect. Systemic treatment is administered orally (tablets, capsules) or parenterally (injections). A complete cure for psoriasis has not as yet been achieved with any of the currently available medication.
When to start psoriasis treatment?
- Psoriasis patients who are asymptomatic during a period of remission may not require any treatment.
- Mild types of psoriasis affecting less than 10% of total body may be sufficiently controlled with topical treatment.
- Severe types of psoriasis affecting more than 20% of body usually require systemic therapy.
- Moderate and early stages of severe psoriasis may respond to topical therapy alone.
Phototherapy or combination of phototherapy with other forms of therapy is also an important treatment option in psoriasis.
How do Parkinson’s drugs work?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive condition of the nervous system where the brain hormone (neurotransmitter) known as dopamine is lower than normal. The treatment of Parkinson’s disease mainly revolves around an increase in the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine or its effects. Excess of acetylcholine levels, another neurotransmitter, is seen prominently in drug-induced Parkinson’s disease. Therefore drugs known as centrally acting anticholinergic agents (drugs that block the effects of acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter in brain) are used to manage this form of Parkinson’s disease.
Who should use weight loss pills?
A multi-pronged approach to weight loss is often needed which should initially involve only calorie restricted diet and exercise. It is only when these measures fail to meet the desired target body weight that more aggressive measures like the use of weight loss drugs can be considered. The use of medication to lose weight is not indicated for every person. It should be considered in any individual who is not responding to lifestyle changes with :
- a Body Mass Index (BMI) > 27 with a high risk of developing obesity-related diseases
- a Body Mass Index (BMI) > 30
Individuals on medications for the treatment of obesity (weight loss drugs) should actively continue with the lifestyle modification measures aimed at weight loss.
Types of Antifungals
Antifungal drugs can be divided broadly into medications for systemic and superficial fungal infections. Systemic drugs are used for deeper lying infections which can only be reached by drugs traveling in the bloodstream. There is no specific site that is targeted but rather the distribution is essentially through the whole body. Drugs for systemic (deep) fungal infections include :
- Amphotericin B
Drugs for superficial fungal infections include both oral and topical medication. These drugs are mainly developed for fungal infections of the skin and the tissue just underneath it (subcutaneous). Oral drugs are mainly in the form of tablets and capsules that are taken through the mouth, travel through the bloodstream and reach the skin to target these infections. Topical applications include creams, ointments, lotions and gels.
- Oral medications include drugs such as terbinafine and griseofulvin.
- Topical medications include nystatin, topical azoles, topical allylamines and other topical drugs.
Arthritis is the term for joint inflammation. There are several different types of arthritis but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Whereas osteoarthritis is mainly due to the erosion of the joint cartilage surrounding the ends of the bones, rheumatoid arthritis primarily involves the joint lining known as the synovium. Despite the term, osteoarthritis is not marked by inflammation although it may occur occasionally. Instead it is more of a degenerative disorder of the cartilage and bone. Drug therapy for osteoarthritis mainly aims at providing symptomatic relief of the pain and the inflammation which occasionally associated with the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is marked by varying degrees of inflammation of the joint lining as a result of autoimmune processes. It is a progressive disorder meaning that it worsens over time. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis focuses on control of disease progression and reduction of joint inflammation in addition to relief of pain.
continue reading Arthritis Symptomatic Relief (Palliative) Treatment with Drugs
What is the medication for HIV/AIDS?
The medication used to treat HIV/AIDS is known as antiretrovirals (ARVs). These drugs are not a cure for HIV infection and AIDS but helps suppress the virus for a period of time thereby allowing the immune system to recover to some extent. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects a certain type of immune cell known as the CD4+ T-cell, replicates within it and then destroys it. By doing so the viral population increases within the body while the numbers of CD4 cells gradually declines.
This means that the virus grows in numbers infecting an ever increasing number of CD4 cells. At the same time the host defenses through the action of the CD4 cells is gradually diminished. This gives other types of infectious microbes the chance to infect the host and cause severe infections that can be fatal. Antiretrovirals are therefore the most effective way to manage HIV/AIDS by slowing down disease progression. It spares the immune system for long periods of time and ultimately prolongs one’s lifespan.
What is a moisturizer?
The term moisturizer refers to an application that restores moisture. In terms of the skin, it is a means of remedying dryness. This mainly refers to dryness of the outermost layer of the superficial skin – the stratum corneum of the epidermis. It is the appearance of this outermost layer of the skin that is often used to determine skin health. A moisturizer may therefore be used to treat dryness of the skin that occurs for certain non-pathological reasons such as a dry climate. It can also be used to treat dryness of the skin that occurs with certain types of skin diseases.
Moisturizers remain one of the most common topical applications to maintain skin health. It is argued that skin which cannot retain its natural moisture may therefore be unable to hold the moisture provided by these applications. However, regularly moisturizing even very dry skin does have benefits that outweigh not using a moisturizer at all. This should not detract from the fact that excessively dry skin (xerosis) or skin diseases with marked skin dryness has some underlying cause which needs to be identified, investigated and treated. Moisturizers therefore only offer short term relief for dry skin.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune cells, specifically the CD4+ T-cells (lymphocytes). The virus replicates within these immune cells and destroys it. In this way the body’s immune defenses are gradually diminished over months and years until a point is reached where the immune protection is almost totally depleted. This late stage is known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Although HIV/AIDS is incurable, certain types of drugs can slow down the virus from replicating and therefore save the body’s immune defenses for a longer period of time. It essentially retards the infection but cannot stop it altogether. These drugs are known as antiretroviral drugs or ARVs.
continue reading Antiretrovirals (ARVs) for HIV Types, Names List, Side Effects
Skin Rashes and Adverse Drug Reactions
Skin rashes are one of the common drug-induced reactions which usually becomes evident within days or weeks of starting a medication. It is an adverse reaction to the presence of the chemicals in the drug. It can either be allergic or non-allergic. This meas that the drug triggers the immune system which then causes skin irritation (allergic) among other symptoms. At other times the skin rash is occurring through other mechanisms without eliciting abnormal immune activity (non-allergic). There are various types of skin rashes that may arise with using different medication. It is however not always possible to ascribe a certain skin rash with a specific drug. Instead an adverse drug reaction is considered as a possible cause of the skin rash when it starts shortly after commencing a certain medication or there is a history of adverse drug reactions to a specific medication or class of drugs.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone secreted from beta cells of the pancreas. It helps to control the blood glucose levels preventing hyperglycemia (high glucose levels) which can damage the cells. In diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), there may be a lack of or deficiency of insulin thereby leading to abnormal fluctuations in blood glucose levels and hyperglycemia. Insulin exerts its effects by binding to insulin receptors present on the cell surface of organs sensitive to insulin like liver, muscles and fat tissue. The binding of insulin to its receptors results in activation of an enzyme known as tyrosine kinase which leads to reactions inside the cell that are responsible for various effects of insulin.
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