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Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, the student will be able to:

  1. Learn the origins of pharmacy and medicines.

  2. Recognize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.

  3. Understand the laws governing pharmacy in the professional setting and their ramifications.

  4. Recognize and identify the schedules of controlled substances.

  5. Differentiate between a prescription drug and an over-the-counter (OTC) drug.

  6. Recognize and identify the parts of an OTC label.

  7. Differentiate among chemical, brand, and generic names of drugs.

  8. Recognize and identify common medical abbreviations.

  9. Locate and identify various agencies that produce drug information.

  10. Determine the roles and responsibilities of medical professionals as they relate to pharmacy.

Chapter Outline

  • History of Drugs and Pharmacy

  • Legal Foundations

  • United States Food and Drug Administration

  • Over-the-Counter Products

  • Naming of a Drug

  • Generic and Brand-Name Drug Ingredients

  • Medical Abbreviations

  • Drug Information

    • Pharmacists

    • Poison Control Centers

    • Information Sources

  • Discussion Topics

  • Chapter Review

Medications, in one form or another, have been used by humans for thousands of years. Drugs and medicines were discovered or developed to heal the sick and protect people at risk of sickness or disease. Did you ever wonder how drugs and medicines came into existence? How did rules and regulations governing the formation and distribution of drugs develop?

As an athletic trainer, a basic understanding of the origins of medicines and how the laws that govern them protect patients, including your athletes, is helpful in interactions regarding drugs and medications. In addition, it is imperative to learn and understand the differences among classifications of drugs. Understanding which medications can be prescribed only by a physician, and which can be bought at the local pharmacy or store. Most importantly, you need to know whom to contact for drug information and drug emergencies. This chapter will focus on the origins of drugs and medicines, their current classifications, and basic laws that surround the usage and distribution of drugs in the athletic setting.


The origins of drugs and medicines and the development of pharmacy can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of the Tigris and Euphrates river basin region6 (Figs. 1–1 and 1–2). Around 2100 BC, physicians and priests began to record references to drug therapy on clay tablets. This collection of works left by ancient healers contained formulas and directions for compounding medicines, which, when translated into modern language, resulted in the identification of 250 vegetable and 120 mineral drugs.6

Figure 1–1

Pharmacy in Babylonia, 2600 B.C. Painting by Robert A. Thom. (Courtesy of Pfizer Consumer Group, Pfizer Inc.)

Figure 1–2

Pharmacy in ancient China. Painting by Robert A. Thom. (Courtesy of Pfizer Consumer Group, Pfizer, Inc.)

According to these tablets, common ...

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