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Gastric drugs are designed to relieve pain, discomfort, and other disorders within the gastrointestinal system. The first drugs and medicine used for this purpose were natural, organic substances. Starting in the 19th century, pharmaceutical companies produced synthetic versions of natural medications. The companies’ goal was to improve the effectiveness of their drugs, while minimizing side effects. Several controversies have arisen from the use of gastric drugs.

Gastric drugs fall into one of five categories—emetics, antidiarrheal medications, laxatives, acid reducers, and antiflatulence medication. The majority of gastric drugs treat symptoms of disease but not a disease itself. This is because a majority of the disorders that arise within the gastric system are symptomatic of a larger disease or disorder that needs to be treated. The other common ...

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