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Chapter Objectives

Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, the student will:

  1. Understand and be able to define the term "drug."

  2. Know about the process by which drug compounds are attached to receptor sites located on or within the cell.

  3. Be able to differentiate between the agonist and antagonist effects of a drug on living tissues.

  4. Understand the differences in individual responses to drug therapy.

  5. Understand the onset of action and duration of action that drugs exhibit when administered to living tissues.

  6. Understand and be able to identify the various forms of in which a drug can be administered.

  7. Be able to differentiate among the different types and sites of drug administration.

  8. Understand how drugs are absorbed, metabolized, distributed, and excreted.

  9. Be able to identify the variety of human physical characteristics that may affect drug responses.

Each year over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drug administration rates increase. As more and more new drugs, both prescription and OTC, are developed for a variety of maladies, the athletic trainer needs to be more knowledgeable about how these drugs affect the human body. It is important to understand the different methods of delivering drugs to the tissues of the body and how these methods affect how the drug is metabolized and utilized by the body.

This chapter will explain how drugs are used to treat, prevent, and diagnose disease and illness, a field of study known as pharmacotherapeutics. Specifically, this chapter will focus on two subcomponents of pharmacotherapeutics: pharmacokinetics (how the body assimilates, incorporates, and eliminates a drug) and pharmacodynamics (how a drug affects the body). By gaining a basic understanding of the pharmacotherapeutics of both prescription and OTC drugs, you can explain to athletes why it is important to take medications as prescribed by the physician. You will also have a better understanding of how drugs work within the body, why they work, how long a drug remains active, and what the potential drug adverse effects are; and be able to address many of the other general questions athletes typically ask when they are taking a drug.

What Is a Drug?

A drug is a chemical that interacts with and affects living organisms to produce a biological response. In other words, a drug alters physiological functions by replacing, interrupting, or potentiating existing cellular functions. For example, caffeine, a drug found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other foods, can produce a stimulant effect on the central nervous system (CNS) by attaching to CNS receptors and essentially overriding the fatigue messages being sent to the brain from various neurotransmitters. The actions of caffeine at the cellular level allow it to assist with headache relief and induce alertness in individuals. (For more specific actions of caffeine, see Chapter 12).

The effects that drugs produce on an organism can be either primary or secondary in nature. A ...

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