Drugs Used in the Treatment or Management of Human Disease

Authored by: Carolyn D. Berdanier , Johanna T. Dwyer , David Heber , Carolyn D. Berdanier , Theodore Kyle

Handbook of Nutrition and Food

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466505711
eBook ISBN: 9781466505728
Adobe ISBN:


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Chronic and acute diseases are often managed using both drugs and nondrug therapies. Pharmaceutical research has resulted in a wide array of drugs that are useful in helping the body return to its pre-disease state. For some conditions, there is a large selection of drugs to choose from, while for other conditions, the number of drugs available is very small. Some conditions have no pharmaceutical treatments. No drug is without risk. The physician prescribing the drug must weigh the risk of the drug against its possible benefit knowing that there are some diseases that are fatal if left without treatment and also knowing that some drugs have major side effects that can compromise an individual’s well-being. The basic function of pharmaceuticals is to help the body repair or normalize itself. If it fails to do this, then the drug has no merit. If it harms the body with no benefit, then the drug not only has no merit but is contraindicated totally and should not be used. There are individual differences in drug tolerances. That is, there can be broad ranges of effectiveness from individual to individual. This can explain why an individual drug may be very effective in one person but not very effective in another. In addition, many drugs may be effective in the individual but may have deleterious effects on the unborn child if the individual taking the drug is pregnant.

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