Rx: Misuse and Perils

Different regions have different definitions of what qualifies as a prescription drug. But in general, a prescription drug is a pharmaceutical drug that requires medical prescription under legal circumstances to be administered.

“Rx” (℞) is often used as a short form for prescription drug in North America- a contraction of the Latin word “recipe” (an imperative form of “recipere”) meaning “take”. Prescription drugs often come with a monograph (in Europe, a Patient Information Leaflet or PIL) that gives detailed information about the drug. This determines whether the prescriber allows the pharmacist to substitute a cheaper generic drug.

Over-the-counter drugs, on the other hand, can be obtained without a prescription. The reason for this classification and substance control is to avoid the possibility of drug misuse such as drug abuse, and prescription of drugs of those who are practicing medicine without a license and without sufficient education.

Many think prescription drugs are safe because they were prescribed by a doctor. But taking them for nonmedical use to get high or “self-medicate” can be just as dangerous and addictive as taking illegal street drugs.

The negative effects of prescription drugs misuse include health issues such as extreme weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, paranoia, chronic insomnia, overdose,  infertility, memory problems and, organ damage and failure. Prescription drug misuse can also lead to addiction, poor academic performance and legal trouble.

There are very serious health risks in taking prescription drugs. This is why they are taken only under the care of a doctor. And even then, they have to be closely monitored to avoid addiction or other problems.



“Long-Term Health Risks of Prescription Drug Abuse”. Muir Wood. Cached 14 May 2017.

“Prescription Drug Abuse: A serious problem”. Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Cached 17 May 2017.

“The Dangers of Misused Prescription Drugs”. ULifeline. Cached 14 May 2017.