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Pharmacotherapy must sound like a very serious medical term, and while that is not completely true, it should be noted that it is not something to be scared of. Pharmacotherapy, very simply speaking, is the use of drugs in medical science to treat a myriad of illnesses. The history of pharmacotherapy can be traced back to the days of Hippocrates who introduced the concept of treating ailments with medicinal herbs in ancient Greece. Over time, the practice became more refined until it finally developed into what we know today as modern pharmacotherapy.
Pharmacotherapy has a multitude of benefits in our lives. However, before discussing those benefits in more detail, it is important to first understand the different types of pharmacotherapy that exist.
Pharmacotherapy can be broadly divided into the following categories:
Pharmacokinetics mainly deals with how the concentration of a drug and its product changes in the body over time. Based on how the concentration level of the drug changes as time passes, the concentration of the subsequent doses will be determined.
Pharmacodynamics measures how the bodily functions change after the intake of a drug. These changes are usually quantifiable, such as the secretion of more hormones or other biological parameters.
The concept of pharmacogenomics focuses on how variation in the genetic code could lead to the same drug exhibiting different effects. For example, the presence of certain genes could either make a particular drug more efficient or render it toxic for the body to consume. This is a relatively new concept and directs its attention more towards prescribing drugs that cater to each individual’s genes.
This refers to the study of how large populations respond to a particular drug. This is done in order to address a variety of different matters such as how long the drug took to respond generally, the side effects reported the most and other adverse effects.
Now that the types of pharmacotherapy have been addressed, the benefits of pharmacotherapy are detailed in the following paragraphs.
Pharmacotherapy has been shown to have a multitude of benefits for patients suffering from not only physical ailments, but also mental illnesses. Let us take a look at some of these:
Research shows that ADHD can be effectively managed by the help of pharmacotherapy. Doctors have been regularly prescribing psychostimulants as part of the pharmacotherapy technique. The usage of these drugs has resulted in a better quality of life for patients along with a decrease in costs.
Antidepressants are a popular drug used to treat clinical depression; however, they can be habit-forming for patients in the long run. Nonetheless, the chances of addiction can be greatly minimized, if not completely eliminated, by the use of pharmacotherapy.
Dysthymia is a severe form of depression that is characterized by co-morbidity i.e. other disorders could also, be present alongside it. Studies conducted in the past have shown that pharmacotherapy is an effective treatment for dysthymia, at least in the short run.
It has been suggested that appropriate use of medication can help to reduce the likelihood of a hip fracture in the older age group by targeting the risk groups. However, a point to be noted here is that in the long term, the claim is still rather weak. With that said, more research is being conducted to further elaborate on this statement.
In conclusion, pharmacotherapy has been refined over the ages and has become an efficient source of treating a plethora of illnesses. However, there is still a need to carry out further research on this in order to uncover more benefits that pharmacotherapy may have and, in turn, help the society with them.
Sarwat Makkani, MD
Yanelquis Torres, MD
Fabiola Baptiste, NP
Raga Mohamed Ali Osman
Sipra Talvikki Autio