Health and Social Care Unit 14 - Drugs

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This is the use of a chemical substance that alters the function of one or more body organs or changes the process of disease. Each drug normally has three names, i.e. a detailed descriptive chemical name, a shorter generic name (official medical name) and a specific brand name chosen by the manufacturer.

Drugs are either licensed for prescription or available over the counter and maybe from naturally-occurring substances or artificially produced, sometimes by genetic engineering.

You should know that drugs are classified, firstly according to chemical makeup, secondly to the disorder treated and thirdly by their specific effects on the body.

All new drugs are tested for efficiency and safety. The different methods of administering drugs i.e. by mouth, injection, creams, suppositories or sprays should be known, i.e. the reasons for administration in each case. You should also appreciate that drugs can produce adverse side effects and a drug is only useful if its overall benefit outweighs any risk and severity of these side effects.


Jan 10


(a)   (i) Outline what is meant by a non-prescription drug.

ai) Ref to non-prescription drugs being over the counter (1) safe for purchase/not as strong as prescription drugs (1) without medical supervision (1) max 2 2 marks


(ii) Give two different reasons why not all drugs are taken by the mouth.

aii) Any 2 of: chemical may be damaged by digestion AW/may take too long to be absorbed – needed quickly (1) drug needs to be applied locally not generally (1) unable to swallow – not conscious (1) 2 marks




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