B1.3 Medicine & Drugs

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B1 3.1 Developing new medicines

  • When we develop new medicines they have to be tested and trialled extensively before we can use them.
  • Drugs are tested to see if they work well. We also make sure they are not too toxic and have no unaaceptable side effects.
  • Thalidomide was developed as a sleeping pill and was found to prevent morning sickness in early pregnancy. It has not been fully tested and it caused birth defects.
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B1 3.2 How effective are medicines?

  • Statins lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 40%.
  • The effectiveness of both prescribed and non-prescribed drugs can only be measured in proper double-blind trials.
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B1 3.3 Drugs

  • Drugs change the chemical processes in your body, so you may become addicted to them.
  • Addiction is when you become physically or mentally dependent on a drug.
  • Smoking cannabis may cause mental health problems.
  • Hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are very addictive and can cause serious health problems.
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B1 3.4 Legal and illegal drugs

  • Many recreational drugs affect the nerous system, particularly the brain. Some are more harmful than others.
  • Some recreactional drugs are legal and others are illegal.
  • The overall impact of legal drugs on health is much greater than illegal drugs because more people use them.
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B1 3.5 Does cannabis lead to hard drugs?

  • People can progress from using recreational drugs such as cannabs to addiction to hard drugs because cannabis is illegal and has to be obtained from a drug dealer.
  • Cannabis smoke contains chemicals which may cause mental illness in some people. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to this effect.
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B1 3.6 Drugs in sport

  • Anabolic steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs are used by some athletes.
  • The use of performance-enhancing drugs is considered unethical by most people.
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