What is Involved in Prescription Drug Treatment?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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Prescription drug treatment is a type of treatment in which a licensed medical doctor determines that a person has a condition or illness that should be treated with the help of a controlled drug. When a drug is released on the market, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or relevant local governing body, determines whether that drug must be issued on a prescription basis or whether it is so safe as to be issued over the counter. If a drug is considered to require a doctor's advice and intervention for use, it is made prescription only and is available only when a licensed MD provides a recommendation for its use.

There are a number of factors associated with prescription drug treatment. Generally, a drug is approved by the FDA for use only for a given condition or series of conditions. Doctors are generally advised to prescribe the drug only for approved purposes.

Some doctors, however, will also prescribe a drug for "off-label" use, which means a given prescription drug treatment can be prescribed for the treatment of an illness although the FDA has not tested and approved that drug to treat that particular condition. Off-label use generally occurs in light of information made available in medical journals and by the sales staff of a drug company. Drug companies must comply with strict laws limiting the recommendation of a drug for an off-label purpose.


When a doctor evaluates a patient, he determines whether that condition has an illness that can be treated by a given prescription drug treatment. If the patient has an illness that may benefit from drug intervention, the doctor can then prescribe the treatment he believes will assist the patient. The patient can then take the treatment as recommended by the doctor.

Physicians and patients must also be aware of how drugs interact with each other. Sometimes, a patient will be on prescription drug treatment for multiple ailments. Those drugs can interact with each other within the body, causing a potentially dangerous reaction. As such, it is generally recommended that patients keep all of their prescriptions on file with the same pharmacist who can alert them to any potential interactions the drugs may have that cause problems.

Generally, prescription drugs work by impacting systems or processes within the body. The drug alters the body chemistry, correcting problems causing an illness or other medical condition. Unfortunately, this means the drug can also have unintended side effects on the body. Those side effects must be monitored to determine whether they are a risk to the patient's safety.



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