Journal of eISSN: 2373-6453 JHVRV

Human Virology & Retrovirology
Mini Review
Volume 6 Issue 2

Lifestyle drugs: concept and impact on society

I Mounika, B Ramu
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Kvk College of pharmacy, India
Received:January 28, 2017| Published: July 11, 2018

Correspondence: B Ramu, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Kvk College of pharmacy, Hyderabad 500070, Telangana, India, Tel +919989078708, Email

Citation: Mounika I, Ramu B. Lifestyle drugs: concept and impact on society. J Hum Virol Retrovirol. 2018;6(2):46‒49. DOI:10.15406/jhvrv.2018.06.00194


Lifestyle has been changed from generation to generation and time to time which are the causes of diseases. The most commonly accepted definition refers to a drug or medicine that is used to satisfy an aspiration or non health related goal. As a pharmacist of overall well being of an individual lifestyle become an object of medical attention. In India lifestyle drugs are being used by financially upper classes and may extend to the other classes as the time proceeds. Alcohol has been used enormously and regularly as one of the oldest lifestyle requirement which are not having any clinical use. Now a day’s Viagra (Sildenefil citrate) is the drug of choice for erectile dysfunction and is already a huge success, this success as a lifestyle drug is because of media and pharmaceutical company’s attitude. All these drugs have changed the lifestyles of millions and increased greatly the profits of many pharmaceutical companies. The clinical use of minoxidil is for hypertension but causes the growth of hair and so it is used in the alopecia. Another eg. Tobacco, height increasing pills etc similarly number of drugs that are used for some particular purpose are used as lifestyle requirement too. As the Indian economy growing rapidly at an annual rate of 7-8% a new era of drug discovery and development linked with an enormous increase in the marketing of new drugs. This is the matter of serious psycho sociological concern. There is a need to study the impact of these drugs on developed and developing nations. Therefore this study provides the useful information that could be helpful in elaborating intervention methods to alleviate the problem of lifestyle drugs usage among youth and general public at large.


The term lifestyle drug is used to describe medicines that are used to cure ‘lifestyle illness’ which are actually the diseases that arise through these called ‘lifestyle choices’ and these are drugs of choice which are believed to improve life, function, and appearance.1 These drugs treat none threatening and non painful conditions like baldness, impotence, wrinkles or acne which a person perceives as either non medical problem at all or minor medical problem relative to others.2 Even though some of these lifestyle drugs could be helpful for us to improve our health perhaps as preventive measures, they are not considered curative or life saving in the same senses as other prescription drugs are. Anyone can become dependent on and addicted to a drug. The desire to use a drug before drug dependence (addiction) sets in is both seductive and indiscriminate of its users. Most people do not realize that drug use causes at least three major simultaneous changes:

  1. The social and psychological basis of the attraction to a particular drug can be explained as feeling rewarded or satisfied because social pressures can appear to have become postponed, momentarily rectified, or neutralized and defined as nonproblematic.3
  2. Pharmacologically, the nonmedical use of most drugs alters body chemistry largely by interfering with its proper (homeostatic) functioning. Drugs enhance, slow down, accelerate, or distort the reception and transmission of reality.
  3. The desire may satisfy an inborn or genetically programmed need or desire.

The adversary’s trust that that way of life drugs add up to minimal more than therapeutically endorsed recreational medication utilize and it ends up unsafe as a few people take them constantly. They question that in spite of the fact that the desire for sound, lovely, smart and strong life can be seen yet is it then the part of medicinal services framework to attempt to upgrade these characteristics? Way of life drugs are generally asserted to be innocuous, yet then the doctor must focus on conceivable manhandle, reactions, dangers and inconveniences so as not to put individuals in danger.4 These discussions encompassing the way of life medication's fundamental needs, current status, moral and administrative angles and purchaser's perspective has urged us to survey these different parts of way of life tranquilizes in detail. As far as regulatory policy is concerned, there are likely to be 4 different types of lifestyle drugs.

Drugs approved for specific indications(e.g., baldness or social anxiety disorder)

They are classified as lifestyle drugs because of a feeling in society that may or may not be justified, that pharmacotherapy for these types of problems is in some way frivolous.5

Drugs, approved for specific indications that are used for other purposes

At the moment, the main examples of this are the SSRIs, which are sometimes used in people who do not have a DSM disorder. However, in the future, this class will probably include other drugs approved for the treatment of mood or cognitive disorders but used by those anywhere in the normal range to enhance their mood or cognitive ability. They will be used in this way because some physicians will be willing to write prescriptions for these drugs, even for people who do not have a disorder. They will also be taken by people who obtain them through illegal means.

Drugs that have been used traditionally

They are therefore not usually thought of as lifestyle drugs but are taken for the purpose of altering mood or social behaviour in people who may or may not be mentally healthy. This includes illegal drugs of abuse, as well as those that are legally sanctioned, such as alcohol and caffeine.6

Natural products

Potential examples of this category include ascorbic acid and fish oils, but also include a wide range of other products, such as herbal extracts. These are minimally regulated by governments unless they are clearly toxic or specific claims are made by the manufacturer about their actions. Use of this type of product depends on information, sometimes correct, about their actions that is distributed by anyone other than the manufacturer. Overall, the regulations are based more on factors such as traditional patterns of use and whether the product is synthesized by living organisms or by drug companies than on consideration of the implications of the use of lifestyle drugs for the individual and society. The main concepts associated with drug dependence are described below.

Drug dependence Psychological dependence

A core component of the definition of drug dependence, described by Ghodse (2010) as “an overriding compulsion to take the drug even in the certain knowledge that it is harmful, and whatever the consequences of the method of obtaining it” (page 7).

Physical dependence

Not all drugs cause physical dependence, but for those that do, sudden drug withdrawal is followed by a withdrawal syndrome, characteristic of the psychoactive substance taken. Whether an individual develops physical dependence varies from person to person and depends on regular administration of the drug (e.g. daily), in sufficient dosage over a period of time (e.g. a number of years).

Withdrawal syndrome

A specific array of symptoms and signs that follow sudden withdrawal of a drug that causes physical dependence.


Following repeated administration of some drugs, users may become less sensitive to the effects of the drug and over time require larger doses to achieve the same effects previously produced at lower doses. Therefore, they may be able to tolerate much higher doses than individuals who have not previously been exposed to the drug. Tolerance does not necessarily develop equally or at the same rate for all the effects of a drug.7


Increasing availability of the life style drugs which are capable of altering appearance, physical and mental capabilities is changing socio fabric culture among youth and this could have devastating consequences on young, vibrant ambitious Indian population. This is a matter of serious psycho sociological concern. Therefore the present study provides useful information that could be helpful in elaborating intervention methods to alleviate the problem of life style drugs usage among youth and general public at large.6

The Indian perspective

The health care scenario in India has to face many challenges as we are lacking a system like the national health scheme (NHS) of united kingdom or its equivalent because of this 80% of Indian population is spending money out of pocket on health sector, which is expected to lead poverty by 2%.2 months after the launch of Viagra on December 26th 2005, Pfizer has exceeded its targets by capturing 1.8% of market that is estimated to be worth Rs.80 crore. Most people unfortunately are inclined to accept a pill as the answer to all life’s problems. There are some moments when one becomes careless and thinks go out of control which leads to unwanted and unplanned pregnancy NOT ANY MORE....‘Mis-take’ morning after pills helps you to tackle mistakes positively. When these words appeared on the Chennai’s billbords, many socially active nongovernmental organizations protested .to provide Indian women control over their reproductive functions levonorgestrol based emergency contraceptive pills were permitted to be available over the counter but protestors retaliated on the objectionable text up on the holding saying that it promoted free sex and the name ‘mis take’ offended the general public standards. As a result of the protest the directorate of drug control of the Tamilnadu government seized the entire stock of worth USD $0.1 million. The Indian government initiative to ban television advertisements of alcohol, tobacco and infant milk substitutes is commendable and a step forward but a stronger political commitment will be required for the desired outcome.

A case as an occurrence

It's a myth that taller individuals improve the situation at games, and tallness likewise assumes a critical part in choices identified with business, governmental issues and decision of conjugal accomplices and bad habit versa [22]. Numerous organizations are subsequently delivering stature increment pills around the world. It is announced that tallness increment pills are fundamental for shorter people! For similar reasons stature expanding pills are generally accessible in India as OTC items and are broadly promoted through commercials in daily papers and TV channels. These tallness increment pills or home grown items are thought to be free from antagonistic impacts! Tall cases are made that these prescriptions increment tallness up to 4-5 inches even after your 30th birthday celebration? Such a typical accessibility of questionable medications prompt numerous issues; regardless of whether these pills are extremely worth anything? For instance, who develops after pubescence or 25 years old? According to the laws of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act in India, no individual can case to build tallness utilizing any pharmaceutical; it is culpable under the law. The adequacy of these tallness increment pills isn't known. Most likely there may be a few escape clauses which are being abused. Indian officials ought to think about these ineffectual "home grown" prescriptions and begin ensuring shoppers' interests, as purchasers are spending their important money on these jabber?8

Way of life drugs in old age

Typical maturing has never been a sickness. The purported age related changes are for the most part because of the individual way of life of the individual. Be that as it may, as of late, maturing has been medicalized and countless old matured people are utilizing 'way of life' medications, for example, nootropics, psychopharmaca, hormones and ecodrugs. The old matured individuals have turned into all the more wary about the age related changes in their body, for example, male pattern baldness, wrinkles and so on., and need to put off it as far as might be feasible. The cutting edge age specialists need to confront fluctuated requests of old matured individuals as for enhancing their external appearance, to unravel their 'restorative issues', to impact their rate of hair development and to by and large postponement, end or even turn around the regular maturing process, and these specialists feel that as opposed to tolerating the seniority, the way of life drugs are an answer for the expressed issues. On occasion, the patients experiencing somatoform issue, for example, anxious person issue, body dysmorphic disarranges, themselves unexpectedly request that doctors endorse them way of life drugs. Endorsing these way of life medications to the elderly populace, should make the doctor much more careful reason for an expanded possibility of unfavorable medication responses in the geriatric populace and the same ought to be appropriately informed. Is life expectancy prolongation a honest to goodness remedial point? Assessments will vary as just the time will demonstrate whether this will be a definitive triumph of therapeutic science or a definitive social calamity.

Smart drugs

Stress has turned into an integral part of our life and is likewise expressed to be one of the primary purposes behind the improvement of different intellectual diseases,2 for example, dementia.12 Other than the authentic pharmaceutical operators for these genuine natural ailments, the market is overflowed with heaps of "savvy drugs". The expression "shrewd medications" is utilized for "any of an assortment of substances, including certain vitamins, herbs, and doctor prescribed medications, rumored to enhance such mental capacities as memory and readiness or to decrease or anticipate harm to mind cells". The other name for these medications is Nootropics which in Greek means following up on the mind. They are a class of manufactured and common supplements that upgrade subjective capacity. At first these medications were really being utilized for the treatment of memory issue and dementia, however of late even the sound are attempting their hand over these shrewd medications who report a colossal advantage from these savvy tranquilizes as they enhance their working limit. Announced impacts incorporate expanded readiness, vitality, short and long haul memory limit, fixation levels, and work performance.9

 Certain different medications which can be ordered as savvy drugs include:

  1. Ginkgo biloba
  2. DMAE (di-methyl amino ethanol)
  3. DHA (docosahexaenoic corrosive)
  4. Acetyl L carnitine
  5. Phosphatidylserine
  6. Ginseng

Bioethics and medical policy debate

As obviously there is no exact generally acknowledged definition or criteria for the term Lifestyle drugs, in like manner there is much level headed discussion inside the fields of pharmacology and bioethics around the legitimacy of growing such medications, especially after the business introduction of Viagra for a remedial condition and its ensuing abuse. Commentators of pharmaceutical firms assert that pharmaceutical firms effectively medicalize; that is, they concoct novel issue and sicknesses which were not perceived accordingly before with the goal that their "cures" could be gainfully showcased. This prompts pathologizing what were at first considered as should be expected states of human existence. The outcomes are said to incorporate by and large more noteworthy stresses over wellbeing among the overall population, misallocation of restricted restorative research assets to relatively minor conditions while numerous genuine maladies stay uncured, and unnecessary social insurance use. Social faultfinders additionally question the respectability of dedicating enormous research spending plans towards making these medications when much more hazardous infections like growth and AIDS remain uncured. India is as yet being messed with the deep rooted infections, for example, tuberculosis, intestinal sickness, hunger and other financial problems, and assignment of assets and need to these way of life tranquilizes within the sight of gross shortage of assets, will accomplish more mischief than great to the country.10


Drug can over time switch from lifestyle to ‘mainstream ’use for example atropine was first used as a beauty aid based on its abilities to dilate the pupil, cocaine was first described as a lifestyle drug in use by the Indians in south America it satisfies the hunger, gives new strength to the weary and exhausted and makes the unhappy forget their sorrows and was subsequently assimilated into European medicine as a local anesthetic. It is now largely returned to lifestyle drug status and regrettably is the basis of an illegal multimillion dolor international drug industry .these easily available ‘lifestyle drug’ is revolutionizing the traditional relationship of doctor and patient and raise issues about the rights to and limits of self diagnosis, self prescription, internet prescription, direct to consumer advertisement(DTCA) and self medication. Finally the implications to the regulatory systems include evidence based decision making, efficiency, ethics, laws and standards of regulatory policy to name a few another major concern area for the regulatory is the online ‘free sample’ of this such as food supplements, vitamins and drugs like sildanefil, which are directly supplied to the consumers.

Society has not to any great extent attempted to come to grips with issues such as these. Meanwhile, there are increasing signs that more effective and less toxic lifestyle drugs will be developed long before there is any broad agreement that will enable rational and consistent regulation of them. This is a sharp contrast with some other areas of research, such as genetics and reproductive technologies, where the ethical and societal implications of research developments, as well as proposals for keeping regulations responsive to new discoveries, have been widely discussed.


India's greatest outstanding difficulties are instruction and medicinal services, as indicated by the present Finance Minister. In social insurance, in spite of some advance, India still has a high rate of maternal and newborn child mortality, malnourishment, and other endemic provincial medical issues like cholera, jungle fever, and other eradicable and transmittable sicknesses. Now of time we can't stand to scorn India's development by lost needs. Industry has a significant commitment in the nation's development. With a specific end goal to influence medicate industry choices; India should be clear about the medications strategies. The administration has a vital part in helping us comprehend what drugs are accessible, and what drugs we will require in future. In a free market framework, profits might be a marker of what we need as people, however they may not be the best sign of what drugs we require as a general public. The demands of these drugs have risen in market today which has encouraged pharmaceutical industries to produce more quantity of such products which has ultimately led to addiction among people. The government has an important role in helping us understand what drugs are available and what drugs will require in future, knowing more about these drugs in detail will definitely help in preventing its abuse.



Conflict of interest

Author declares there is no conflict of interest.


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