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Chapter Objectives

Chapter Objectives

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

  1. Learn about 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.

Did you ever wonder how drugs and medicines came into existence? How did rules and regulations governing the formation and distribution of drugs develop? Drugs and medicines were created or developed to heal the sick and injured and protect people who are at risk of sickness or disease. They have been used by the human race for thousands of years.

As an athletic trainer, you need to understand the origins of medicines and how the laws that govern them protect patients, including your athletes. In addition, it is imperative to learn and understand the differences among classifications of drugs: 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.

History of Drugs and Pharmacy

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 foodstuffs, such as alcoholic beverages, fats and oils, parts of animals, honey, waxes, and milks were used as vehicles (substances used to carry drugs to their site of action) for medicines. Thus, these tablets from ancient civilizations mark the true beginning of pharmacy.


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