A pharmaceutical is any kind of drug used for medicinal purposes, like cough syrup or sleeping pills.

You may have heard of a pharmacy, which is a place where you can buy medicinal drugs, or a pharmacist, which is a person who prepares those drugs. In general, a pharmaceutical is anything related to pharmacies or pharmacists, though it especially refers to the kinds of medicines that they sell. Pharmaceuticals are often contrasted with what are called recreational drugs, which are the illegal kind that are generally used for entertainment purposes rather than to help heal the body.

Definitions of pharmaceutical
  1. adjective
    of or relating to pharmacy or pharmacists
    “the pharmaceutical industry”
    synonyms: pharmaceutic
  2. adjective
    of or relating to drugs used in medical treatment
  3. noun
    drug or medicine that is prepared or dispensed in pharmacies and used in medical treatment
    synonyms: pharmaceutic
    see moresee less
    pharmaceutical consisting of a radioactive compound used in radiation therapy
    clot buster, thrombolytic, thrombolytic agent
    a kind of pharmaceutical that can break up clots blocking the flow of blood to the heart muscle
    Activase, tissue plasminogen activator
    a thrombolytic agent (trade name Activase) that causes fibrinolysis at the site of a blood clot; used in treating acute myocardial infarction
    type of:
    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine
    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease
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