What are the Different Types of Drug Therapy?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Drug therapy may involve various treatment options depending upon the illness or disease it is used to treat. Some common types of drug therapy include chemotherapy typically used for treating cancer, antidepressant medications, and steroid drugs for inflammatory diseases. Drug therapy can also involve treatment for drug addiction. This type of therapy is typically known as a drug rehabilitation program.

Many chronic diseases require drug therapy to control the associated symptoms and help the patient have a better quality of life. Fibromyalgia is a disease that may require prescription medications. This illness causes pain throughout various muscle groups and joints over an extended period of time, and is generally treated by a course of drug therapy that may include muscle relaxants, pain killers, and drugs that enable sleep.

Similarly, muscular dystrophy, which attacks muscle groups and causes spasms, rigidness, and pain, may be treated with corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone. This drug helps reduce inflammation in most patients. Anti-spasmodic drugs may also be prescribed.

Drug treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) may include many of the same types of medications. Although there is no known cure for OA, many of the medications may provide relief from symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce painful joint swelling in many patients, and may be prescribed for a period of time.


Many types of mental illness and psychiatric disorders are treated with drug therapy. Schizophrenia, which is typically characterized by delusions, loss of touch with reality, and paranoia, may be treated with neuroleptics. These are a type of antipsychotic drug. Benzodiazepine drugs are also sometimes used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia. Certain drugs used for treating schizophrenia are commonly prescribed for dementia patients as well.

Cancer patients with aggressive forms of this disease are often given chemotherapy, or chemo. This includes high doses of chemicals that destroy cancer cells. Chemo is also used to keep the disease from metastasizing to other locations of the body. There are a wide array of chemotherapy drugs used to treat various forms of cancer. Often, chemo is used in conjunction with radiation as a total therapy program.

Drug therapy may also mean receiving therapy for a drug addiction. Many individuals who have drug-related issues, such as dependency on a narcotic, receive professional counseling in a drug therapy or rehabilitation, or rehab, program. This may include counseling on an in-patient basis or admission to a hospital or other facility for extensive treatment. The patient will receive support and guidance on how to manage his lifestyle and become addiction-free.


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Post 4

My mom has to take steroids for her severe arthritis. For years she tried to relieve her symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers, but it got to the point where they didn't help her. She wasn't very happy about taking the steroids, but that is the only thing that has helped her continue doing a lot of her favorite activities.

Post 3

I have had drug therapy for depression, anxiety and sleep problems. The more anxious I become, the harder it is to sleep. This then becomes a vicious cycle and sleep deprivation can have a set of problems all their own.

This can be hard to treat because sometimes the depression makes you feel like all you want to do is sleep. The anxious thoughts can keep me from sleeping. Sometimes I feel like a guinea pig as I have tried so many different things.

I know that all medications have some kind of side effect, but I also know that I have a hard time functioning as I should without them. I just hope that none of these medications they are giving me are addicting.

Post 2

My sister has gone through more than one type of drug therapy for a brain injury she had after a car accident many years ago. Many of her symptoms are similar to schizophrenia, yet the cause of her symptoms are different than most people who are diagnosed with this.

The doctors have tried different psychiatric medications hoping to find something that will help control her symptoms without serious side effects. All of them have some kind of side effect and you wonder if the results are worth it. She gained 80 pounds while taking one medication and another one almost destroyed her kidneys.

Post 1

I have known several people who have had chemotherapy to treat their cancer. While this isn't a cure, you are hoping it will kill the cancer cells for good.

There are a lot of side effects for someone who is going through this type of drug therapy. Depending on the type of chemotherapy they are receiving, it is very possible they will lose their hair. Most people will also feel nauseated and very tired during this whole process.

Of the people I know that have undergone this type of treatment, I would say the results are very mixed. Some friends are still alive today and have so signs of cancer, while others never made it. I think it is hard to determine how well the chemotherapy really works, but if you or someone you love is faced with that choice, at least it offers some hope.

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