The goal of any medical treatment is to improve the health of a patient. This can be achieved through preventive medicine or by treating illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. There are many different types of treatments, each of which has its own specific goals. Listed below are some of the most common forms of therapy.
A doctor’s role is to educate patients about their illness and recommend treatments based on experience, knowledge, and research. They may also ask next-of-kin or health care power of attorney to help them make decisions. Although the decision is made by a doctor, it is usually done based on standards of practice and best medical evidence.
Treatment is categorized into three main groups: symptomatic, expectant, and curative. Expectant therapy is aimed at relieving symptoms, while curative therapy is directed toward a cure. Curative therapies involve the destruction of the root cause of the disease, and may be used to stop a disease from progressing.
Symptomatic therapy focuses on relieving the pain or other symptoms. It can include over-the-counter medicines, fluids, or even rest. Some people are also treated with supportive therapy, which treats the patient’s pain and other symptoms by providing a sense of comfort. These treatments can include ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
First-line therapies are generally given after a patient’s condition has been diagnosed. During this time, the health care provider will determine what types of treatments are available, and will discuss the potential benefits and risks of each option. While first-line therapies can be effective in treating a condition, they can also have undesirable side effects. In these cases, a second-line therapy or a third-line therapy can be added to the regimen.
Second-line therapies include antibiotics and immunotherapy. Generally, a broad-spectrum antibiotic is administered immediately after diagnosis. When the patient’s infection is bacterial, the treatment aims to kill that bacterium. If the problem is caused by another organism, a different type of medication is prescribed. However, if the illness is due to viruses or parasites, a more targeted treatment is necessary.
Lastly, there are therapeutic interventions that are designed to enhance a patient’s ability to function. For example, analgesics can be taken when the patient demonstrates the earliest signs of a disease. Antihistamines can clear up allergic reactions, and antibiotics can kill bacteria. Medications can be taken or injected, and may contain home remedies.
Finally, there is the type of therapy called “extraordinary.” This is highly invasive, and can be used to either cure the patient or keep the condition from getting worse. Such interventions raise ethical questions.
Medical treatments can be very complicated, and the process of making a decision can take a long time. Sometimes the decision is repeated multiple times to gather more information or to get fresh data.
Because of the extensive nature of the treatment process, it is important to know what you are signing up for. Often, a clinical trial will be offered. Clinical trials are sponsored by organizations, universities, and individuals. Many clinical trials are conducted at medical centers, hospitals, and other sites. FDA seeks to include people from diverse backgrounds in the trials, including those of different genders and ethnicities.