Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 33 prevent conditions, or manage them for long-term maintenance. Medications vary from dietary supplements in a couple of important ways. Supplements are defined as substances taken to complement the diet for full nutrition. They are not strictly regulated, and as such, they are assumed to be safe unless demonstrated otherwise. By contrast, medications are carefully regulated and are assumed to be potentially dangerous until safe limitations for use are established. DRUG NOMENCLATURE AND CLASSIFICATION The label on the container of an over-the- counter or prescription medication may have multiple names for the drug inside. These names typically include the following: a chemical name (e.g., acetylsalicylic acid), a generic nonproprietary name (e.g., aspirin), and a trade name (e.g., Bayer or Bufferin). Drugs are often classified by groups, but these groups can be arranged in many different ways. For example: Chemical Classes. Medications may be described by the chemical compounds they contain. Benzodiazepines are an example: This group of drugs is built on a particular chemical structure, and under this classification we find diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and alprazolam (Xanax). Intended Mechanisms. Another way to talk about medications is by what they are intended to do. When we talk about vasodilators or analgesics, this describes medications by their function. Drugs grouped in this way may have different chemical structures, though. Both acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are fever reducers, but their chemical structures are different. Conditions Treated. Medications may also be classified by what conditions they are used to treat. These classes include anxiolytics (antianxiety medications), antihypertensives (drugs to treat high blood pressure), anticonvulsants (drugs to suppress seizures), and many others. A few other classification systems might be used by prescribing physicians and pharmacists, but they aren't relevant for this discussion. Drug classifications aren't rigid, and many drugs are used for more than one purpose. Aspirin is an analgesic, but it is also used as an antiplatelet drug. Amitriptyline (Elavil) was developed as an antidepressant, but it can be useful to control migraines or as a sleep aid. Gabapentin was designed to be an anticonvulsant drug, but it works well to manage neurogenic pain, so it is also an analgesic. It is always good news when we Massage therapy is most likely to have a direct interface with the medications our clients use in the context of side effects. Some side effects are just accepted as part of medication use, but some might prompt people to make an appointment for massage. find that a medication that has a history of safe use in one context can be effective in other situations as well, because it saves all the safety testing that is necessary before a new drug is released to the market. HOW DO THEY WORK? To talk about where massage therapy fits in the context of our clients' medication use, we need to know a little bit about how medications work. This is called pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. The video that accompanies this article will demonstrate how to read a complex drug guide and how these terms are used in that context. Pharmacotherapeutics (PT) PT refers to what a medication is used for. In drug guides, this might be called "indications" or "uses." As we saw in the discussion of classifications, many medications have multiple PTs. Pharmacokinetics (PK) Pharmacokinetics refers to how medications move through the body— from consumption, through metabolism, to excretion. The process of metabolism isn't especially relevant for massage therapy at this point (unless someday we determine that receiving massage changes the rate or process of how a client processes a drug), but the way medications are administered and excreted may have some bearing on our choices. ADMINISTRATION There are four main ways drugs can enter the body to affect function: by mouth, by topical application, by mucous membranes, and by injection.

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