Drug therapy (pharmacotherapy) is characterized as treatment with medications or otherwise, pharmacological agents. Chemotherapy is characterized as pharmacotherapy in the case of oncological disorders. Pharmacotherapy belongs to non-invasive treatment therapy. Pharmacotherapy is also called the section of pharmacology that studies drug therapy.
Types of pharmacotherapy
The following types of pharmacotherapy are distinguished:
- etiotropic therapy: it is the ideal form of pharmacotherapy. This type of pharmacotherapy is aimed at coping with the disease’s cause. Examples of etiotropic pharmacotherapy can be the treatment of antimicrobial agents of infectious patients (benzylpenicillin for streptococcal pneumonia), the use of antidotes in the treatment of patients with toxic substances.
- pathogenetic therapy: it is aimed at eliminating or suppressing the mechanisms of disease’s development. Most of the currently applied medications belong to the group of drugs of pathogenetic pharmacotherapy. Antihypertensive drugs, cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, psychotropic, and many other drugs have a therapeutic effect by suppressing the appropriate mechanisms of disease development.
- symptomatic therapy: it is devoted to overcoming or constricting personal symptoms of the disease. Symptomatic drugs can include painkillers that do not affect the cause or mechanism of the disease. Antitussives are also a good example of symptomatic remedies. Sometimes these remedies can have a significant impact on the course of the underlying pathological process and play the role of pathogenetic therapy.
- replacement therapy is used when there is a shortage of natural nutrients. The means of replacement therapy include enzyme preparations (pancreatin), hormonal drugs (insulin in diabetes mellitus), vitamins (vitamin D, for example, with rickets). Substitution treatment drugs, without eliminating the causes of the disease, can ensure the normal existence of the organism for many years. It is not by chance that such a severe pathology as diabetes mellitus is considered a special way of life among Americans.
- preventive therapy: it is carried out to prevent diseases. Some antiviral drugs (for example, in case of a flu epidemic – rimantadine), disinfectants and a number of other meds are prophylactic. The use of anti-tuberculosis drugs such as isoniazid can also be considered preventive pharmacotherapy. A good example of preventive therapy is the use of vaccines.
- chemotherapy should be distinguished from pharmacotherapy. If pharmacotherapy deals with two participants of the pathological process, namely, the drug and the macroorganism, then chemotherapy has already 3 participants: the medicine, the macroorganism (the patient) and the causative agent of the disease. The drug affects the cause of the disease (treatment of infectious diseases with antibiotics; poisoning with specific antidotes, etc.).