B1.3- Medicine and drugs

What three things make a medicine fit for purpose? Explain each one.
1. Effective – Prevents or cures disease or relieves symptoms 2. Safe – Must not be too toxic or have unacceptable side effects 3. Stable – Must be able to be used under normal conditions and be stored for some time
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What are new drugs tested on?
Cells, tissues, whole organs and animals
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Why are drugs tested on animals?
To give an idea of how the drug affects a whole living organism and to give ideas about doses and toxicity
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What doses are used when new drugs are first checked on healthy humans? Why?
Very low doses, this is so any possible side effects can be detected but will be minimal due to the low dose
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Who are the drugs tested on after healthy individuals? Why?
Patients, to see if the drug actually treats the disease
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What is a placebo?
A pill that does not contain the active drug being tested
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What does double blind mean?
Both the doctor giving the treatment and the patient do not know whether they are getting the real drug or the placebo.
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What can the placebo contain? Why?
The drug normally used to treat the disease, to compare the new and old treatments and so the patient is still treated even if they are taking the placebo
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What was thalidomide originally developed as?
A sleeping pill
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What tests, which are compulsory now, were not carried out?
Tests on pregnant animals
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What else did thalidomide help?
Morning sickness during pregnancy
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What assumption led to tragic consequences?
That because it was safe for adults it was safe for unborn children
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What happened to some of the babies whose mothers were taking thalidomide?
They were born with severe limb deformities.
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What did the Medicines Act 1968 state as a result of the thalidomide tragedy?
That all new medicines must be tested on pregnant animals to see if they have an effect on developing foetuses
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What else has thalidomide been shown to treat?
Leprosy, autoimmune diseases and some cancers
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What precaution is taken when thalidomide is being prescribed?
It is never given to women who are or might be pregnant.
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What are you more likely to have if your blood cholesterol is high?
A heart attack or stroke
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What do statins do?
They lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
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How can patients get the best effects from statins?
By also keeping to a low-fat diet as well
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Why might taking a statin have a negative impact on some patients?
They may not worry about their diet any more which will counteract the good the statins are doing and they might get side effects.
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Why are some non-prescribed medicines potentially dangerous?
They may only contain natural products but these can contain dangerous chemicals.
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What is the gold-standard test that all drugs need to be tested with to confirm they are safe?
A double-blind clinical trial
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Name one non-prescribed medicine that seems to work well when treating depression?
St John’s Wort
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What is a drug?
A substance that alters the way in which your body works
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Give two examples of legal socially acceptable drugs.
coffee, nicotine
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Give two examples of illegal social drugs.
cocaine, ecstasy
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How do drugs work?
They effect the chemistry of your body.
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Why are drugs we use as medicines sometimes used even though they can cause harm if used incorrectly or side effects?
Because the benefit outweighs the harm
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What does being addicted to a drug mean?
You are dependent on that drug – you cannot manage properly without it.
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What does an addict get when they try to stop using a drug they are addicted to?
Withdrawal symptoms
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Why do people start taking drugs?
They can make you feel happy and make you feel as though your problems no longer matter.
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Why are there concerns about cannabis, which used to be considered a relatively soft drug?
Evidence suggests that cannabis smoke contains chemicals which can cause mental illness in some people.
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Why are hard drugs such a problem?
They are often very addictive, They cause health problems themselves, They are expensive so often mean users turn to crime, They are taken intravenously, which can spread STDs easily if needles are shared
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Why is the evidence into cannabis use not strong?
The studies have been too small.
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What drug Class is cannabis in now?
Class B
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What did a study in Australia show that youngsters have a higher risk of if they use cannabis?
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What age of person is particularly vulnerable to mental health problems triggered by cannabis?
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What are anabolic steroids?
Drugs that help build up muscle mass
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Who uses anabolic steroids?
Athletes who need lots of muscle to be very strong or fast
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How can strong painkillers help athletes?
It allows them to train through injuries which may cause further long term damage
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What type of athlete would use chemicals that increase the amount of red blood cells?
Endurance athletes such as marathon runners, cyclists or triathletes
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Why aren’t all athletes who have these chemicals in their blood banned from their sport?
Because the chemicals are present naturally in all people so the drug testers are looking for abnormal levels
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What happens to athletes if they are caught cheating?
They are banned from their sport.
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Why must athletes be careful with all the medications they use?
Some medicines contain some of the chemicals which are illegal.
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Give two arguments used by athletes to justify the use of banned substances that could harm them.
Any two of: They want to win They think other athletes are using them and don’t want to be left behind They do not take the risks seriously Some athletes say they did not know they were taking them
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Why do some people think that athletes should be able to take whatever they like?
Then everyone would be level as everyone has the option to take the performance-enhancing drugs
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What are new drugs tested on?


Cells, tissues, whole organs and animals

Card 3


Why are drugs tested on animals?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What doses are used when new drugs are first checked on healthy humans? Why?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Who are the drugs tested on after healthy individuals? Why?


Preview of the front of card 5
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