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Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of how a drug's actions affect living tissue (Table 19-1). It is important for the physical therapist to have a working knowledge of pharmacology because of the number of drugs currently on the market and the number of physical therapy patients that are likely to have been prescribed medications.

Table 19-1. Pharmacology Terms and Definitions
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Some of the beneficial effects of drugs may be enhanced by physical therapy interventions, but in other cases the interventions may have negative consequences.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Directs the drug development process
  • Gives approval for marketing a new drug
  • Approves a new use for an older drug

Drug regulation is essential to ensure a safe and effective product. The purposes of drug regulation include

  • Balancing the need of the pharmaceutical companies to show a profit with the need for patients to have easy access to effective medications
  • To ensure safety and efficacy of the drugs and review product labeling
  • To regulate the manufacturing process to ensure stability in the product
  • To control public access to drugs that have the potential for abuse

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are drugs classified according to their potential for abuse. These drugs are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies these compounds into schedules from I to V.

  • Schedule I: these drugs are ...

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