It is evident from the way this book is organised that there is no homogeneous system for classifying drugs that suits the purpose of every user. Drugs are commonly categorised according to the convenience of who is discussing them: clinicians, pharmacologists or medicinal chemists.

Drugs may be classified by:

• Body system, e.g. alimentary, cardiovascular

• Therapeutic use, e.g. receptor blockers, enzyme inhibitors, carrier molecules, ion channels

— molecular interaction, e.g. glucoside, alkaloid, steroid.

— cellular site, e.g. loop diuretic, catecholamine uptake inhibitor (imipramine)

• Molecular structure, e.g. glycoside, alkaloid, steroid.1

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