Wikipedia says this about medications.
A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine or medication, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.
Some medicines are prescribed by doctors who (hopefully) understand the nature of illnesses and when a particular medicine should or should not be used. Other medicines can be obtained without a prescription, and correct use of those medicines is left to the judgment of the user. In both cases, incorrect use of medications can cause serious problems for the user.

Scientists are investigating the use of medicines, and here are links to some of their reports.
Nonprescription medications are just as likely a cause of poisoning as prescription drugs, according to a new study by Timothy Wiegand, M.D. from the University of Rochester Medical Center in the US and colleagues. Their work, which analyzes the data from the second annual report of the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC), is published online in Springer's Journal of Medical Toxicology.

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