Qualitative aspects

It is appropriate to begin by considering what drugs do and how they do it, i.e. the nature of drug action. Body functions are mediated through control systems that involved chemotransmitters or local hormones, receptors, enzymes, carrier molecules and other specialised macromolecules such as DNA. Most medicinal drugs act by altering the body's control systems; in general they do so by binding to some specialised constituent of the cell selectively to alter its function and consequently that of the physiological or pathological system to which it contributes. Such drugs are structurally specific in that small modifications to their chemical structure may profoundly alter their effect.

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