Drug Classifications

Drugs are arranged under broad categories called drug classifications. Medications that react in the body in similar ways with similar effects are classified in a specific category. Many drugs have multiple different types of effects and may be listed in several categories. One example of this is ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is commonly used as a pain reliever.

It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and as a fever reducer. It can therefore be classified in three different categories. Characteristics of various major classifications will be discussed in each unit. The general information includes:

  • Therapeutic uses 
  • Common side effects 
  • Precautions 
  • Contraindications 
  • Interactions 
  • Common names or administration issues

Naming Drugs

Medications usually have several names. Generic name is the non-proprietary names given to a medication. Generic names are not capitalized. Brand name is the name given to a drug by a specific company. Brand names are capitalized. An example includes the generic name acetaminophen or the brand name Tylenol.

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