B1.3 - The use and abuse of drugs

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  • Created by: Emily_O
  • Created on: 28-09-13 15:11

Developing medical drugs

  • When we develop new medical drugs they have to be tested and trialled extensively before we can use them
  • New drugs are tested for toxicity, efficacy and dose:
    • In labs, using cells, tissues and live animals
    • In clinical trials involving healthy volunteers and patients who are given very low doses of the drug at the start of the clinical trial. If the drug is found to be safe, further clinical trials are carried out to find the optimim dose for the drug. In some double blind trials, some patients are given a placebo which doesn't contain the drug. Neither the doctors nor the patients know who has recieved a placebo and who has recieved the drug until the trial is complete
  • Thalidomide was developed as a sleeping pill and was found to prevent morning sickness in early pregnancy but it hadn't been fully tested and causes birth defects
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Drugs

  • Drugs change the chemical processes in your body, brain or both
  • Many recreational drugs affect the nervous system, particularly the brain
  • Some recreational drugs are legal, some illegal
  • Addiction is when you become physically or mentally dependent on a drug and will suffer withdrawal symptoms without is
  • The overall impact of legal drugs on health is much greater than the impact of illegal drugs as far more people use them
  • There are several types of drug that an athlete can use to enhance performance, some of which are banned by law and some that are legally available on prescription, but all are prohibited  by sporting regulations
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