Prescription drugs are the specific medication prescribed by a doctor or health care professional, as a part of a health plan for a patient. Prescriptions are often separated into two categories: controlled and non-controlled substances.
Most prescription drugs are non-controlled substances. This means that they are unlikely to cause harm or lead to drug abuse. Prescription medicine treats medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and bacterial infections. These drugs are unlikely to cause harm or lead to drug abuse in patients. Non-controlled substances are not the same thing as over-the-counter medication; a prescription is still needed for these drugs.
Controlled substance medication is used to treat medical conditions such as pain, anxiety, and depression. The Drug Enforcement Administration has classified controlled substances into a series of schedules, based on the danger of misuse and abuse of the chemical. Common controlled substance medication that might be prescribed to a patient includes:
- Opioid Painkillers: These prescription medications help treat pain. Common opioid drugs include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. Opioids are classified under Schedule II by the DEA, as these drugs have a high potential for drug abuse and addiction.
- ADHD Medication: Drugs that help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall and Ritalin are listed as Schedule II controlled substances by the DEA, as they carry a high potential for drug abuse and addiction.
- Steroids: Doctors may prescribe anabolic steroids to help treat conditions related to hormonal problems, such as delayed puberty or low testosterone production. Steroids are classified as Schedule III controlled substances, meaning they have the moderate-to-mild potential for drug abuse.
- Ketamine: Ketamine compounding drugs can be used to treat pain and depression. These drugs usually come in nasal spray or oral pill form. Legal ketamine prescription medications are classified as Schedule III substances by the DEA.
- Anxiety Medications: Prescription drugs that help treat the effects of anxiety, such as Xanax or Klonopin, are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances. This means that they carry a low risk for drug abuse and addiction. You can refill these drugs five times within six months of the date the prescription was given. This helps ensure that the prescription medication isn’t being overused or abused.
- Cough Medicine: Prescription-strength cough/ congestion medications such as Robitussin are classified as Schedule V controlled substances. These medications contain small amounts of narcotic codeine to help relieve discomfort. These prescription drugs pose little risk of addiction or drug abuse, due to their small amounts of opioid dosage.
It is illegal to obtain prescription drugs without a formulary (prescription listing) from a licensed health care professional. Certain prescription medications carry a high risk of drug abuse and addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources on their website that detail the dangers of the opioid overdose pandemic. Check these out at CDC.gov.
NOTE: Doctors on Sesame do not prescribe any prescription medication that is listed as a controlled substance. Check out DEA.gov for a detailed list of medications that are listed as controlled substances.