It has been said that most human illness is psychological in origin, and so perhaps we should not find it so surprising that psychology plays an important part in the effect of pharmaceuticals.
We all know about placebos, the capsules of glucose or some such, which are given in double blind tests, and which we patients suspect doctors sometimes give to their more troublesome patients who are simply seeking attention. In fact it would be unethical for a doctor to do so. What doctors may opt to do instead is to prescribe the same medication under a different name. Most pharmaceuticals have many names. So, let us, laymen be more discerning with the drugs or medicine (could be just vitamins pill but priced as medical drugs).
Every drug has at least two official names : the chemist's systematic name, which may run to several lines of text, and the agreed generic name which is approved by international agreement.
The chemical name, with its curious italic, brackets, Greek prefixes, symbols or numbers, is unreadable and easy to get wrong, especially by those who are not familiar with them.
The generic name is usually simple, short and memorable. Thus we have N-acetyl-para-aminophenol as the chemical name , and paracetamol as the generic name.
In addition there are the trade names, of which dozens are in use for this one drug alone. We may be persuaded by heavy advertising (legally approved and legislated and government taxed, etc, etc...) always to buy Panadol, Tylenol, or whatever name it is given in the place in which we live; and in just one country, for instance in United Kingdom(UK), we doctors can give paracetamol as Alvedon, Cafadol, Disprol, Paldesic, Panaleve, salzone, and Tylex. Some of these are mixtures with other compounds.
Not many headache or migraine victims realize that the brain is "crying" out for water to work with, not drugs/pills, when the pain signal is turned on. It is the water which they drink together with the pills that turn off the pain signal, not the drug itself. In fact, the body find no use at all with the drugs just swallowed; it had to be excreted as toxin later on, if water level is sufficient to do so.
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Doctors can prescribe a drug under its trade name or generic name, when it will be cheaper. But is the cheaper alternative really costing us dear in the long term?
Companies who make generic drugs generally do no research. On the other hand the big pharmaceutical companies need their prices to fund the huge costs of research into new drugs.
Sadly, they need to spend even more on promoting, protecting and improving their existing drugs, than on research. What the research-based pharmaceutical companies require are longer patent rights, starting from the date the drug is finally cleared for use, rather than from the date of its discovery. Until such times they need the support which a well-known brand name can provide. That's what's in a name.