Formulation of drugs into medicines

It is not normal to administer a pure drug to a patient. Almost all the drugs are administered in form of a medicine. A medicine is a mixture of one or more drugs combined or formulated with the other inactive materials known as excipients. Excipients themselves have no pharmacological activity however do have a major influence on how the drug is administered and absorbed. The formulation of drug into a medicine – whether it be in tablet, ointment, injection form or some kind of liquid solution – is usually necessary before it can be administered to humans. Every medicine is a highly sophisticated product carefully designed to fulfil its purpose, to ensure that the response to the medicine is the same each time it is administered.

The colour and shape of the tablets and capsules are controlled as an aid to recognition. Charts are available that enables us to recognize all the drugs sold as proprietary preparations. The colour of tablets and capsules is also utilized by manufacturers as a psychological means of increasing the drug’s effect. If you look at one of the several drug identification charts available in your hospital pharmacy you will notice that the capsules that contain tranquillisers are in subdued, quiet colours (such as dark greens, blues and even blacks), while the capsules for antidepressants have vibrant colours (such as yellows and reds). These colour combinations are a subtle attempt to enhance the therapeutic effects of the medicine and constitute an example of using the ‘placebo’ effect in drug administration.

Utilizing the above information as well as information from your own sources, describe why the drugs are formulated into medicines.

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