Lifestyle drug

Lifestyle drug

Lifestyle drug is a term commonly applied to medications which treat conditions like baldness, impotence, wrinkles, or obesity.

No standard medical definition or criteria are associated with the term. Insurers neither provide any definition of the term, nor label any medication as a lifestyle drug, nor classify any medications as lifestyle drugs as a criterion for reimbursement. [Some English-language media (e.g. [ Sanofi drops after FDA staff comments on Acomplia] ) translate a category name used in Germany's pharmaceutical reimbursement system as "lifestyle" drug. This is not a literal translation, however. The German Lebensstildroge translates literally as lifestyle drug, but this appears both not to be the original name, and also to have rather different connotations in German than "lifestyle drug" does here. It seems likely the original German category name simply isn't as "sexy" as "lifestyle drug", and so got "punched up" during translation.]

The term is entirely a popular usage, and describes a drug that targets a condition which is considered, in absolute or in relative terms, as unworthy of treatment. It finds broad use in media [ [ Google search] ] , and is usually intended and interpreted as pejorative.


Over time, pharmaceuticals research and development creates an ever-larger catalog of medications with an ever-broader range of effects. To the extent that its effects restore someone with a recognized disease or disorder to a state of health considered normal, the marketing and use of a particular medication will more likely be judged legitimate and/or necessary. This judgment is also be more likely to the extent the disease or disorder is considered serious or severe


Critics of pharamaceutical firms point to advocacy of novel "disorders", not recognized as such before their "cures" could be profitably marketed. the consequences including generally greater worries about health, and unnecessary medical research and health care expenditure.

Defining a particular condition (i.e. some constituent element of the human condition) as a disease, disorder, or dysfunction makes a more or less explicit value judgment on the condition in terms of good and evil. In the process (often described as medicalization), similarly value-laden concepts like "healthy" or "normal" undergo complementary redefinitions.

Hence the medicalization of some element of human condition has significance, in principle, as a matter for political discourse or dialogue in civil society concerning values or morals.

The public character and significance of medicalization in general or in any specific case only occasionally becomes clear – the most prominent such occasion perhaps being the 1973 vote of the American Psychiatric Association to renounce its prior recognition of homosexuality as a clinical mental disorder.

Critics argue that pharmaceutical firms, through advocacy hidden from public view among makers of public policy and specialist experts, as well as mass marketing where the definition of some condition as medical is taken as a foregone conclusion, the potential for free and open public dialog regarding its implications is diminished.

Social critics also question the propriety of devoting huge research budgets towards creating these drugs when far more dangerous diseases like cancer and AIDS remain uncured. It is sometimes claimed that lifestyle drugs amount to little more than medically sanctioned recreational drug use. Proponents, however, point out that improving the patient's subjective quality of life has always been a primary concern of medicine, and argue that these drugs are doing just that.

External links

* [ Are Pharmas Addicted to Lifestyle Drugs?] Business Week, June 15, 2007


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • lifestyle drug — /ˈlaɪfstaɪl drʌg/ (say luyfstuyl drug) noun a prescription medicine that is used not to cure illness but to enhance the wellbeing of the healthy by improving looks, sexual performance, etc …   Australian English dictionary

  • lifestyle drug — noun a pharmaceutical product characterized as improving the quality of life rather than alleviating or curing disease …   English new terms dictionary

  • lifestyle drug — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Drug — For other uses, see Drug (disambiguation). Coffee is the most widely used psychoactive drug beverage in the w …   Wikipedia

  • Lifestyle medicine — is defined as the application of environmental, behavioural, medical and motivational principles to the management of lifestyle related health problems in a clinical setting [Egger, G. Binns, A. Rossner, S. (2008). Lifestyle Medicine. McGraw Hill …   Wikipedia

  • Drug addiction — is widely considered a pathological state. The disorder of addiction involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug seeking behavior, the vulnerability to relapse, and the decreased, slowed ability to respond to naturally… …   Wikipedia

  • Drug liberalization — is the process of eliminating or reducing drug prohibition laws. Variations of drug liberalization (also spelled liberalisation) include drug relegalization, drug legalization, and drug decriminalization [1] Contents 1 Policies 1.1 Drug re… …   Wikipedia

  • Drug rehabilitation — Intervention ICD 9 CM 94.64 Drug rehabilitation (often drug rehab or just rehab) is a term for the processes of medical and/or psychotherapeutic treatment, for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and so… …   Wikipedia

  • Lifestyle diseases — (also sometimes called diseases of longevity or diseases of civilization interchangeably) are diseases that appear to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer. They can include Alzheimer s disease,… …   Wikipedia

  • Drug use —    Drug use is one of Russia’s most serious social problems. Currently, it is estimated there are about 6 million people who use drugs, roughly 1 million of whom are aged 11–24. Every year, approximately 70,000 people die of drug related causes.… …   Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation