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Chemistry LibreTexts

31.2: Lead Compounds

A very broad definition of a drug would include "all chemicals other than food that affect living processes." If the affect helps the body, the drug is a medicine. However, if a drug causes a harmful effect on the body, the drug is a poison. The same chemical can be a medicine and a poison depending on conditions of use and the person using it. Another definition would be "medicinal agents used for diagnosis, prevention, treatment of symptoms, and cure of diseases." Contraceptives would be outside of this definition unless pregnancy were considered a disease. 

Thumbnail: Ritalin SR 20 mg, a brand-name sustained-release formulation of methylphenidate. Image used with permission (CC SA-BY 3.0;  Sponge).