AskDefine | Define medication

Dictionary Definition



1 (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease [syn: medicine, medicament, medicinal drug]
2 the act of treating with medicines or remedies

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A medicine, or all the medicines regularly taken by a patient
  2. The administration of medicine


all the medicines regularly taken by a patient
administration of medicine

Extensive Definition

Medication, also referred to as medicine, is usually a drug or any other substance used to prevent or cure disease or to relieve pain, anxiety or any form of perceived discomfort, such as hunger. Medication is often used to mean the act of administering medicines or drugs. Other synonyms include pharmacotherapy, pharmacotherapeutics, drug treatment. Drug treatment, that is: The administration of drugs with therapeutic intention, usually characterizes and distinguishes the practice of Medicine (and the Medical Specialties) from the art of Surgery (and its derived Surgical Specialties). This practical (more than theoretical) distintcion if deeply rooted in the History of Medicine. The science of administering drugs to humans in the clinical setting is termed clinical pharmacology. The emphasis on drug treatment plays an essential role in distinguishing medical from surgical practice.


Medication can be usually classified in various ways, e.g. by its chemical properties, mode of administration, or biological system affected. An elaborate and widely used classification system is the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC system).
Types of medicines:
  1. Antipyretics : reducing fever (pyrexia)
  2. Analgesics : painkillers
  3. Anti-malarial drugs : treating malaria
  4. Antibiotics : inhibiting germ growth
  5. Antiseptics : prevention of germ growth near burns, cuts and wounds

Types of medication

For the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system

For pain & consciousness (analgesic drugs)

further Analgesic
The main classes of painkillers are NSAIDs, opioids and various orphans such as paracetamol, tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

For musculo-skeletal disorders

NSAIDs (including COX-2 selective inhibitors), muscle relaxant, neuromuscular drug anticholinesterase

For the eye

For the reproductive system or urinary system

antifungal, alkalising agent, quinolones, antibiotic, cholinergic, anticholinergic, anticholinesterase, antispasmodic, 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, selective alpha-1 blocker, sildenafil, fertility medication

For infections and infestations

antibiotic, antifungal, antileprotic, antituberculous drug, antimalarial, anthelmintic, amoebicide, antiviral, antiprotozoal

For allergic disorders

anti-allergic, antihistamine, NSAIDs

For nutrition

tonic, iron preparation, electrolyte, parenteral nutritional supplement, vitamins, anti-obesity drug, anabolic drug, haematopoietic drug, food product drug

For neoplastic disorders

cytotoxic drug, sex hormones, aromatase inhibitor, somatostatin inhibitor, recombinant interleukins, G-CSF, erythropoietin

For diagnostics

contrast media

For euthanasia

An euthanaticum is used for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, see also barbiturates.
Euthanasia is not permitted by law in many countries, and consequently medicines will not be licenesed for this use in those countries.

Legal considerations

Medications may be divided into over-the-counter drugs (OTC) which may be available without special restrictions, and prescription only medicine (POM), which must be prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. The precise distinction between OTC and prescription depends on the legal jurisdiction.
The International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations imposes a world law of prohibition of certain medications. They publish a lengthy list of chemicals and plants whose trade and consumption (where applicable) is forbidden. OTC medications are sold without restriction as they are considered safe enough that most people will not hurt themselves accidentally by taking it as instructed. Many countries, such as the United Kingdom have a third category of pharmacy medicines which can only be sold in registered pharmacies, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Other/related topics

Polypharmacy: suggests that multiple use of prescribed and non-prescribed medications, (use of 5 or more), can have adverse effects on the recipient.
Zoopharmacognosy: Animal usage of drugs and non-foods.

Blockbuster drug

A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. The search for blockbusters has been the foundation of the R&D strategy adopted by big pharmaceutical companies, but this looks set to change. New advances in genomics, and the promise of personalized medicine, are likely to fragment the pharmaceutical market.
A recent report from Urch Publishing estimated that about one third of the pharma market by value is accounted for by blockbusters. About 100 products are blockbusters. The top seller was Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication marketed by Pfizer with sales of $12.2 billion.

Leading blockbuster drugs

See also


medication in Afrikaans: Geneesmiddel
medication in Tosk Albanian: Medikament
medication in Arabic: دواء
medication in Asturian: Melecina
medication in Bosnian: Lijek
medication in Catalan: Medicament
medication in Czech: Léčivo
medication in Danish: Lægemiddel
medication in German: Medikament
medication in Spanish: Medicamento
medication in Esperanto: Kuracilo
medication in Basque: Farmako
medication in Persian: دارو
medication in French: Médicament
medication in Korean: 의약품
medication in Ido: Medikamento
medication in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Medicamento
medication in Italian: Farmaco
medication in Hebrew: תרופה
medication in Lithuanian: Vaistas
medication in Hungarian: Gyógyszer
medication in Dutch: Geneesmiddel
medication in Norwegian: Legemiddel
medication in Polish: Farmakoterapia
medication in Portuguese: Medicamento
medication in Quechua: Hampi
medication in Russian: Лекарственные средства
medication in Sicilian: Fàrmacu
medication in Simple English: Medication
medication in Slovak: Farmakoterapia
medication in Slovenian: Zdravilo
medication in Serbian: Лек
medication in Finnish: Lääke
medication in Swedish: Läkemedel
medication in Thai: ยา
medication in Turkish: İlaç
medication in Yiddish: מעדיצין
medication in Chinese: 藥物治療

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

balm, balsam, curative measures, cure, drops, drug, electuary, elixir, ethical drug, first aid, generic name, healing arts, herbs, hospitalization, inhalant, lincture, linctus, materia medica, medical care, medical treatment, medicament, medicamentation, medicinal, medicinal herbs, medicine, medicines, mixture, nonprescription drug, officinal, patent medicine, pharmacon, physic, powder, preparation, prescription drug, proprietary, proprietary medicine, proprietary name, psychotherapy, regime, regimen, simples, syrup, therapeusis, therapeutics, theraputant, therapy, tisane, treatment, vegetable remedies
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