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College Resource Center : Health Careers : Readings in Subject Area : Complete Glossary

Complete Glossary

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A/B rated
a system that compares the equivalency of one drug to that of another, especially brand to generic
absence seizure
a type of generalized seizure characterized by a sudden, momentary break in consciousness; also called petit mal seizure
the process whereby a drug enters the circulatory system
acetylcholine (ACh)
a neurotransmitter that binds to ACh receptors on the membranes of muscle cells, beginning a process that ultimately results in muscle contraction
a blood pH below 7.35; a metabolic condition due to excessive loss of bicarbonate or sodium
acne vulgaris
an inflammation of the skin, usually on the face and neck, that is caused by increased activity of the sebaceous glands at puberty
actinic keratosis
a scaly skin lesion that is caused by too much sun and can lead to skin cancer
active immunity
protection against disease that occurs as a result of coming into contact with an infectious agent or an inactivated part of such an agent administered by a vaccine
acute renal failure
rapid reduction in kidney function resulting in accumulation of nitrogen and other wastes
acute viral infection
an infection that quickly resolves with no latent infection
a dependence characterized by a perceived need to take a drug to attain the psychological and physical effects of mood-altering substances
Addison’s disease
a life-threatening deficiency of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids that is treated with the daily administration of corticosteroid
needs oxygen to survive
afferent system
the nerves and sense organs that bring information to the CNS; part of the peripheral nervous system
the strength by which a particular chemical messenger binds to its receptor site on a cell
arterial impedance, or the force against which cardiac muscle shortens; along with preload and contractility, determines cardiac output
drugs that bind to a particular receptor site and trigger the cell’s response in a manner similar to the action of the body’s own chemical messenger
a blood pH above 7.45; a metabolic condition due to excessive loss of potassium or chloride
allergic diseases
diseases caused by an allergic reaction
allergic response
an instance in which the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance
a state of heightened sensitivity as a result of exposure to a particular substance
alpha receptors
nerve receptors that control vasoconstriction, pupil dilation, and relaxation of the GI smooth muscle
alternative medicine
the use of herbs, supplements, and homeopathic remedies for medicinal purposes
Alzheimer’s disease
a degenerative disorder of the brain that leads to progressive dementia and changes in personality and behavior
a longer-acting class of local anesthetics that are metabolized by liver enzymes
a class of antibiotics that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to ribosomal subunits; commonly used to treat serious infections
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
a degenerative disease of the nerves; also called Lou Gehrig’s disease
anabolic treatment
muscle building
survives in the absence of oxygen
pain relieving
anaphylactic reaction
a severe allergic response resulting in immediate life-threatening respiratory distress, usually followed by vascular collapse and shock and accompanied by hives
an exaggerated reaction to a foreign substance that results in severe shock with breathing difficulty and circulatory failure
hormones produced in males in the testes and in females in the ovaries
angina pectoris
spasmodic or suffocating chest pain caused by an imbalance between oxygen supply and oxygen demand
the formation of new blood vessels
loss of appetite
drugs that bind to a receptor site and block the action of the endogenous messenger or other drugs; used to reverse benzodiazepine or narcotic overdoses
a chemical substance with the ability to kill or inhibit the growth of organisms by interfering with bacteria life processes
a drug that potentiates the action of acetylcholine by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase
a class of drugs that prevent clot formation by affecting clotting factors
drugs that inhibit impulses that cause vomiting from going to the stomach
peptides that are capable under appropriate conditions of inducing a specific immune response
common term for drugs that block the H1 receptors
a class of drugs that reduce the risk of clot formation by inhibiting platelet aggregation
drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia; reduce symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders; also called neuroleptics
fever reducing
antirejection drugs
medications that prevent the body from rejecting foreign solid organ transplants
drugs that limit the progression of HIV
a substance that inhibits the growth of microorganisms without killing them
drugs that block or suppress the act of coughing
a material used in treatment of poisoning by animal venom
agents that prevent virus replication in a host cell without interfering with the host’s normal function
a state of uneasiness characterized by apprehension and worry about possible events
apocrine glands
sweat glands found in the axillary, perineal, and genital regions
early pharmacists and/or their shops
aqueous humor
the liquid in the front portion of the eye
any variation from the normal heartbeat
joint inflammation; persistent pain due to functional problems of the joints
the accumulation of fluids in the abdominal organs and the lower extremities
inhalation of fluids from the mouth and throat
a reversible lung disease with intermittent attacks in which inspiration is obstructed; provoked by airborne allergens
atonic seizure
a type of generalized seizure characterized by sudden loss of both muscle tone and consciousness
atopic eczema
a chronic pruritic eruption of unknown etiology, although allergic, hereditary, and psychogenic factors may be involved; also called atopic dermatitis
attention-deficit disorder (ADD)
a neurologic disorder characterized by impulsivity and distractibility but with less hyperactivity than attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
a neurologic disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility
a subjective sensation or motor phenomenon that precedes and marks the onset of a migraine headache
autonomic nervous system (ANS)
the part of the efferent system of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that regulates activities of body structures not under voluntary control
B cells
antibody-producing lymphocytes that are involved in humoral immunity
microorganisms that cause infection
bactericidal agent
an agent that kills the invading organism
bacteriostatic agent
an agent that inhibits the growth or multiplication of bacteria
basal nuclei
symmetric, subcortical masses of gray matter embedded in the lower portions of the cerebral hemisphere; part of the extrapyramidal system; also called basal ganglia
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
abnormal enlargement of the prostate gland, usually associated with aging
beta blocker
a Class II antiarrhythmic drug that competitively blocks response to beta stimulation, which results in decreases in heart rate, myocardial contractility, blood pressure, and myocardial oxygen demand; used to treat arrhythmias, MIs, and angina
beta-1 receptors
nerve receptors on the heart that control the rate and strength of the heartbeat
beta-2 receptors
nerve receptors that control the smooth muscle of the airways
the degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration
biologic-response modifiers
agents that alter the expression and response to surface antigens and enhance immune cell activities in ways that promote destruction of human malignancies
bioengineered drugs that are produced by recombinant DNA technology
bipolar disorder
a condition in which a patient presents with mood swings that alternate between periods of major depression and periods of mild-to-severe chronic agitation
blood pressure (BP)
the product of cardiac output (CO) and total peripheral resistance (TPR)
blood-brain barrier
a barrier that prevents many substances from entering the cerebrospinal fluid from the blood; formed by glial cells that envelope the capillaries in the central nervous system, presenting a barrier to many water-soluble compounds though they are permeable to lipid-soluble substances
body mass index (BMI)
a guide to use in determining whether to initiate pharmacologic treatment for obesity; calculated by dividing the patient’s weight (in kilograms) by the patient’s height (in meters) squared (kg/m2)
botulin toxin
a neurotoxin that blocks the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, resulting in muscular paralysis
bowel evacuant
an agent that stimulates bowel content removal by increasing osmolarity of bowel fluids
an endogenous chemical that causes contraction of intestinal, uterine, and bronchial smooth muscle
brand name
the name under which the manufacturer markets a drug; also known as the trade name
broad-spectrum antibiotic
covers multiple organisms
a condition in which the inner lining of the bronchial airways becomes inflamed, causing the expiration of air from the lungs to be obstructed
an agent that relaxes smooth-muscle cells of the bronchioles, thereby increasing airway diameter and improving the movement of gases into and out of the lungs
spasmodic contraction of the smooth muscles of the bronchiole
administration of a drug by placing a tablet between the cheek and gums
inflammation of a bursa
calcium channel blocker
a Class IV antiarrhythmic drug that prevents the movement of calcium ions through slow channels; used for most supraventricular tachyarrhythmias and in angina
a fungal infection most commonly involving the oral and vaginal mucosa
a protein shell that surrounds and protects the nucleic acid within a virus particle
carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
diuretics that act in the proximal tubule to increase urine volume and change the pH to alkaline
coalescent masses of infected hair follicles that are deeper than furuncles
enlargement of the heart due to overwork from overstimulation
short periods of muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone associated with sudden emotions such as joy, fear, or anger; a symptom of narcolepsy
catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT)
an enzyme that metabolizes levodopa in the body; inhibited by certain anti-Parkinson’s agents
ceiling effect
a point at which no clinical response occurs with increased dosage
cellular (cell-mediated) immunity
a specific response to antigens that is mediated primarily by lymphocytes and macrophages
central nervous system (CNS)
the brain and spinal cord
a class of antibiotics with a mechanism of action similar to that of penicillins, but with a different antibacterial spectrum, resistance to beta-lactamase, and pharmacokinetics; divided into first-, second-, third-, and fourth-generation agents
a sore
combination with a metal in complexes in which the metal is part of a ring
chemical name
a name that describes a drug’s chemical makeup
chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ)
an area below the floor of the fourth ventricle of the brain that can trigger nausea and vomiting when certain signals are received
an odorless, white, waxlike, powdery substance that is present in all foods of animal origin but not in foods of plant origin; circulates continuously in the blood for use by all body cells; a eukaryotic sterol that in higher animals is the precursor of bile acids and steroid hormones
chronic viral infection
an infection that has a protracted course with long periods of remission interspersed with recurrence
very large lipoproteins containing 90% triglycerides and 5% cholesterol
circadian rhythm
regular recurrence in cycles of twenty-four hours
the rate at which a drug is eliminated from a specific volume of blood per unit of time
the syndrome of endocrine, somatic, and psychic changes occurring at the end of the reproductive period in females
clinical trial
drug testing on humans, used to determine drug safety and efficacy
reproducing identical copies of a gene by DNA technology
clotting cascade
a series of events that initiate blood clotting, or coagulation
a system to communicate that a patient is in a life-threatening situation
colony-stimulating factor (CSF)
a chemical that stimulates the bone marrow to produce blood cells
community-acquired infection
an infection contracted in the community, not in the hospital
complementary DNA (cDNA)
a single strand of DNA formed in an early step of the recombinant DNA process; serves as a template for the second strand
a patient’s adherence to the dose schedule and other particular requirements of the specified regimen
congestive heart failure (CHF)
a condition in which the heart can no longer pump adequate blood to the body’s tissues; results in engorgement of the pulmonary vessels
pink eye
contact dermatitis
an inflammatory reaction produced by contact with an irritating agent
the cardiac muscle’s capacity for becoming shorter in response to a stimulus; along with preload and afterload, determines cardiac output
diseases, conditions, and symptoms for which a drug will not be beneficial and may do harm
controlled substances
drugs with potential for abuse; organized into five categories or schedules that specify the way the drugs must be dispensed
involuntary contractions or series of contractions of the voluntary muscles
a class of drugs that stimulate adenylate cylase and act as anti-inflammatory agents to suppress the immune response; any of the steroids elaborated by the adrenal cortex except the sex hormones; also their synthetic equivalents
a major metabolite of nicotine
cough reflex
a coordinated series of events, initiated by stimulation of receptors in the lungs and airways, that results in a cough
Crohn’s disease
an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the entire GI tract from mouth to anus
Cushing’s disease
a disease caused by overproduction of steroids or by excessive administration of corticosteroids over an extended period
cyclic lipopeptides
a new class of drugs that bind to bacterial membranes and cause the cell membrane to depolarize, thus leading to an inhibition of DNA and RNA synthesis
cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1)
an enzyme that is present in most body tissues and produces protective prostaglandins to regulate physiological processes such as GI mucosal integrity
cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)
an enzyme that is present in the synovial fluid of arthritis patients and is associated with the pain and inflammation of arthritis
cystic fibrosis (CF)
a hereditary disorder of infants, children, and young adults that involves widespread dysfunction of the gastrointestinal and pulmonary systems; GI effects involve increased viscosity of mucous secretions and relative deficiencies of pancreatic enzymes
cytoprotective agents
agents administered to reduce the side effects and toxicity of chemotherapy agents
an agent that causes the mucous membranes to shrink, thereby allowing the sinus cavities to drain
delirium tremens (DTs)
coarse, irregular tremors with vivid hallucinations caused by cessation of alcohol consumption
a state in which a person’s body has adapted physiologically and psychologically to a drug and cannot function without it
a condition characterized by the feeling that life has no meaning, pessimism, intense sadness, loss of concentration, and problems with eating and sleeping
diastolic blood pressure
the blood pressure measurement that measures the pressure during the dilation of the heart
diffuse tumors
cancer tumors that are widely distributed and are not localized
the perception of two images of a single object
disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
agents that can potentially modify the progression of rheumatoid arthritis
an agent that frees inanimate objects from infection
the process by which a drug moves from the blood into other body fluids and tissues and ultimately to its sites of action
a substance that rids the body of excess fluid and electrolytes by increasing the urine output
diverticular disease
an outpocketing from the colon wall that becomes inflamed
DNA sequence
a sequence of three nucleotide bases that exists for each amino acid
the quantity of a drug administered at one time
double blinding
clinical trials in which neither the trial participants nor the study staff know whether a particular participant is in the control group or the experimental group
a medicinal substance or remedy used to change the way a living organism functions; also called a medication
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
the branch of the U.S. Justice Department that is responsible for regulating the sale and use of specified drugs
drug sponsor
the entity responsible for testing a drug’s efficacy and safety, usually a pharmaceutical company
duodenal ulcer
a peptic lesion situated in the duodenum
duration of action
the length of time a drug gives the desired response or is at the therapeutic level
imperfect articulation of speech
impairment of the power of voluntary movement
painful intercourse
difficulty in swallowing
eccrine glands
simple tube-shaped sweat glands that are numerous on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet; regulate body temperature
ectopic pacemaker
a pacemaker other than the SA node
a hot, itchy, red, oozing skin inflammation; also called dermatitis
efferent system
the nerves that dispatch information out from the CNS; part of the peripheral nervous system
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
the introduction of a brief but convulsive electrical stimulation through the brain; used as therapy for major depressive disorders
substances that dissociate into ions in solution and are thus capable of conducting electricity
an irreversible lung disease characterized by destruction of the alveoli in the lungs, which allows air to accumulate in tissues and organs
empirical treatment
treatment begun before a definite diagnosis
endocrine system
glands and other structures that elaborate internal secretions, called hormones, that are released directly into the circulatory system
endogenous anxiety
anxiety caused by factors within the organism
endogenous chemicals
chemicals produced by the body
endotracheal intubation
insertion of a tube into the trachea to keep it open
enteral nutrition
feeding a patient liquid food through a tube that leads to the gastrointestinal system
by way of, or pertaining to, the intestine
the top layer of the skin
a neurologic disorder of sudden and recurring seizures
a form of lipid found in the cell membrane of fungi
a skin infection characterized by redness and warmth, local pain, edematous plaque with sharply established borders, chills, malaise, and fever; a form of cellulitis
a short-acting class of local anesthetics, metabolized by pseudocholinesterase of the plasma and tissue fluids
hormones that stimulate the growth of reproductive tissue in females
evidence-based medicine
drug use or practice that is supported by clinical trials
exogenous anxiety
anxiety caused by factors outside the organism
an agent that decreases the thickness and stickiness of mucus, enabling the patient to rid the lungs and airway of mucus when coughing
the escape of IV fluids into the surrounding tissue
fat-soluble vitamins
vitamins that are absorbed along with dietary fat and are maintained in large stores by the body; vitamins A, D, E, and K
the return of some of the output of a system as input so as to exert some control on the process
the undigested residue of fruits, vegetables, and other foods of plant origin that remains after digestion by the human GI enzymes; characterized by fermentability and may be either water soluble or insoluble
fibrinolytic agent
a drug that will dissolve a blood clot once it is formed
a class of agents that dissolve clots
the removal of substances from the blood as part of the formation of urine by the renal tubules
first-pass effect
the extent to which a drug is metabolized by the liver before reaching systemic circulation
a common viral infection; influenza
an inflammation of a hair follicle by a minute, red, pustulated nodule without involvement of the surrounding tissue
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
the agency of the federal government that is responsible for ensuring the safety of drugs and food prepared for the market
a single-cell organism similar to a human cell; marked by the absence of chlorophyll, a rigid cell wall, and reproduction by spores
a boil; caused by a staphylococcal infection of a sebaceous gland and the associated hair follicle
fusion inhibitor
a drug that prevents HIV from entering the immune cells
gastric lavage
a procedure to wash out or irrigate the patient’s stomach
gastric stasis
lack of stomach motility
gastric ulcer
a local excavation in the gastric mucosa
irritation and superficial erosion of the stomach lining
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
a GI disease characterized by radiating burning or pain in the chest and an acid taste, caused by backflow of acidic stomach contents across an incompetent lower esophageal sphincter; also referred to as heartburn
gastrointestinal (GI) tract
a continuous tube that begins in the mouth and extends through the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine to end at the anus
general anesthesia
a condition characterized by reversible unconsciousness, analgesia, skeletal muscle relaxation, and amnesia on recovery
generalized seizure
a seizure that involves both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously and has no local origin; can be a tonic-clonic (grand mal), absence (petit mal), myoclonic, or atonic seizure
generalized viral infection
an infection that spreads to other tissues by way of the bloodstream or the central nervous system
generic name
a name that is given to a drug by its manufacturer; sometimes denotes a drug that is not protected by a trademark; also referred to as a USAN (United States Adopted Name)
gestational diabetes
diabetes that occurs during pregnancy when insufficient insulin is produced
ghost tablet
the part of a tablet that remains after the outer layer dissolves
GI transit time
the time it takes for material to pass from one end of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to the other; the slower the GI transit time, the greater the amounts of nutrients and water absorbed
a chronic eye disorder characterized by abnormally high internal eye pressure that destroys the optic nerve and causes partial or complete loss of vision
corticosteroid involved in metabolism and immune system regulation
the process of forming new glucose, in which protein and fatty acids are converted into immediate energy sources
glycoprotein antagonists
a class of antiplatelet agents that bind to receptors on platelets preventing platelet aggregation as well as the binding of fibrinogen and other adhesive molecules
gouty arthritis
a disease resulting from the improper excretion of uric acid; also called gout
Gram’s staining
a testing technique in which bacteria are stained to determine if they are gram-positive (purple) or gram-negative (red)
grand mal seizure
a type of generalized seizure characterized by body rigidity followed by muscle jerks; also called tonic-clonic seizure
granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)
an agent that stimulates the bone marrow to produce specific white cells, such as the granulocytes
growth hormone (GH)
a fundamental hormone that affects metabolism, skeletal growth, and somatic growth; deficiency causes growth retardation
growth hormone releasing factor (GHRF)
a neuropeptide secreted by the hypothalamus that stimulates the secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary
excessive development of the male mammary glands, with or without tenderness
the time necessary for the body to eliminate half of the drug in the body at any time; written as T1/2
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
a bacterium that contributes to the development of many gastric ulcers
the proportion of red blood cells to the total volume of blood
hematologic agent
a replacement plasma protein that is necessary for blood coagulation and is not produced in a hemophilic
engorgements of the vascular cushions situated within the sphincter muscles; result from pressure exerted on anal veins while straining to pass a stool
a disease of the liver that causes inflammation, can be acute or chronic, and has several forms, A through G
hepatitis A
a viral form of hepatitis that is usually mild and transient and can be spread from one person to another
hepatitis B
the most dangerous form of hepatitis, accompanied by jaundice and easily spread from one person to another
hepatitis C
an infection of the liver that cannot be spread from one person to another, most commonly transmitted by blood transfusions or illicit drug use
plants or plant parts extracted and valued for their savory, aromatic, or medicinal qualities
hiatal hernia
a protrusion through the esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm
high-density lipoproteins (HDLs)
lipoproteins containing 5% triglyceride, 25% cholesterol, and 50% protein; “good cholesterol”
abnormal hairiness, especially in women
an endogenous chemical that evokes the symptoms of an allergic reaction and is blocked by antihistamines
histamine2 (H2) receptor antagonists
agents that block acid and pepsin secretion in response to histamine, gastrin, foods, distention, caffeine, or cholinergic stimulation; used to treat GERD and H. pylori
a respiratory tract infection caused by a fungus, most often found in accumulated droppings from birds and bats; often called the summer flu
a system of therapeutics in which diseases are treated by administering minute doses of drugs that are capable of producing in healthy patients symptoms like those of the disease being treated
excessive cholesterol in the blood
elevation of the levels of one or more of the lipoproteins in the blood
elevated blood pressure, where systolic blood pressure is greater than 140 mm Hg and diastolic pressure is greater than 90 mm Hg
a condition caused by excessive thyroid hormone and marked by increased metabolic rate; also called thyrotoxicosis
hypertonic solution
a solution with a higher concentration of particles than body fluids contain
drugs that induce sleep
blood glucose less than 70 mg/dL
a deficiency of hormone production and secretion
low blood pressure
a deficiency of thyroid activity that results in a decreased metabolic rate, tiredness, and lethargy in adults and causes cretinism in children
hypotonic solution
a solution with a lower concentration of particles than body fluids contain
idiosyncratic reaction
an unusual or unexpected response to a drug that is unrelated to the dose given
immune response
the immune system’s way of providing resistance to disease and malignancy through the production of antibodies
the process by which the immune system is stimulated to acquire protection against a specific disease; usually achieved by use of a vaccine
an antibody that may prevent an organism from attaching to a cell receptor and may destroy the organism
immunoglobulins (Igs)
proteins with antibody activity
a superficial, highly contagious skin infection; characterized by small red spots that evolve into vesicles, break, become encrusted, and are surrounded by a zone of erythema
failure of the male to initiate or to maintain an erection until ejaculation
the diseases, symptoms, and conditions for which a drug is known to be of benefit
the process whereby a drug increases the concentration of certain enzymes that affect the pharmacologic response to another drug
administration of a medication through the respiratory system
the process whereby a drug blocks enzyme activity and impairs the metabolism of another drug
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or not feeling refreshed on awakening
administration of a medication drop by drop
the situation in which one drug alters the action of another drug; foods, alcohol, and nicotine can also interact with drugs
a substance that exerts virus-nonspecific but host-specific antiviral activity by inducing gene coding for antiviral proteins that inhibit the synthesis of viral ribonucleic acid (RNA)
International Normalized Ratio (INR)
a method of standardizing the prothrombin time (PT) by comparing it to a standard index
administration of a medication through the skin
administration of a medication by injecting it into a muscle; abbreviated IM
administration of a medication through a vein, thereby avoiding the first-pass effect; abbreviated IV
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
a functional disorder in which the lower GI tract does not have appropriate tone or spasticity to regulate bowel activity
irritant receptors
receptors in the lungs and airways that respond to coarse particles and chemicals, causing a cough
ischemic stroke
a cerebral infarction, in which a region of the brain is deprived of oxygen
compounds that contain the same number and type of atoms but have exactly opposite (mirror image) structures
isotonic solution
a solution with the same level of particles, and thus the same tonicity, as body fluids
the notation for immune globulin that is given intravenously
a class of antibiotics that block protein synthesis by binding to ribosomal subunits and may also inhibit the formation of newly forming ribosomes; used primarily to treat bacterial infections in the lungs and sinuses
a form of protein-deficiency malnutrition
the ability of a virus to lie dormant and then, under certain conditions, reproduce and again behave like an infective agent, causing cell damage
legend drug
a drug sold only by prescription and labeled “Rx only”
leukotriene inhibitor
an agent that blocks the body’s inflammatory responses to the leukotrienes or blocks their synthesis
Lewy Bodies
concentric, round bodies found in the vacuoles in the cytoplasm of the midbrain; a distinguishing feature of Parkinson’s disease
spherical particles containing a core of triglycerides and cholesterol, in varying proportions, surrounded by a surface coat of phospholipids so that they can remain in solution
local anesthesia
the production of transient and reversible loss of sensation in a defined area of the body
local effect
an action of a drug that is confined to a specific part of the body
local infection
an infection restricted to or pertaining to one area of the body
local viral infection
an infection affecting tissues of a single system such as the respiratory tract, eye, or skin
loop diuretics
diuretics that inhibit reabsorption of sodium and chloride in the loop of Henle, thereby causing increased urinary output
Lou Gehrig’s disease
see amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
low-density lipoproteins (LDLs)
lipoproteins containing 6% triglycerides and 65% cholesterol; “bad cholesterol”
lymphatic system
a network of vessels that carry lymph, the lymph nodes, and the lymphoid organs including the tonsils, spleen, and thymus; a system for filtering body fluids by nodes, vessels, and lymphocytes before the fluid returns to general circulation
a class of bacteriostatic antibiotics that inhibit protein synthesis by combining with ribosomes; used primarily to treat pulmonary infections caused by Legionella and gram-positive organisms
cells that rid the body of antigens, toxins, and cellular debris by ingesting the foreign substance and digesting it
malabsorption syndrome
impaired intestinal absorption of nutrients
an infectious febrile disease transmitted by the anopheles mosquito
malignant hyperthermia
a rare, but serious, side effect of anesthesia associated with an increase in intracellular calcium and a rapid rise in body temperature
any disorder of nutrition
a mood of extreme excitement, excessive elation, hyperactivity, agitation, and increased psychomotor activity
a type of protein-calorie malnutrition that results in growth retardation
mast cell stabilizer
an agent that stabilizes mast cell membranes against rupture caused by antigenic substances and thereby reduces the amount of histamine and other inflammatory substances released in airway tissues
substances that initiate biological responses
membrane stabilizing agent
a Class I antiarrhythmic drug that slows the movement of ions into cardiac cells, thus reducing the action potential and dampening abnormal rhythms and heartbeats
the process by which drugs are chemically converted to compounds and then excreted through metabolic pathways
metered dose inhaler (MDI)
a device that delivers a specific amount of medication in a puff of compressed gas
migraine headache
a severe, throbbing, vascular headache, usually resulting in nausea, photophobia, phonophobia, and hyperesthesia
corticosteroid involved in electrolyte and water balance
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
a class of antidepressant drugs that inhibit the activity of the enzymes that break down monoamines or catecholamines and serotonin
monoclonal antibody (MAb)
a single-cell antibody produced in a laboratory from an isolated specific lymphocyte that produces a pure antibody against a known specific antigen; used in cancer immunotherapy
morbid obesity
a state in which an individual’s weight is two or more times the ideal body weight (IBW)
motor end plate
the neuromuscular junction where the nervous system and muscular system meet to produce or stop movement
agents that destroy or dissolve mucus
multiple sclerosis (MS)
an autoimmune disease in which the myelin sheaths around nerves degenerate
muscle fasciculation
a small, local, involuntary muscular contraction visible under the skin
muscle relaxants
agents used specifically to reduce muscle tension
myasthenia gravis
an autoimmune disorder of the neuromuscular junction in which the ACh receptors are destroyed at the motor end plate
myocardial hypertrophy
thickening of the heart muscle in response to overstimulation
myocardial infarction (MI)
a heart attack; occurs when a region of the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen
myoclonic seizure
a type of generalized seizure characterized by sudden muscle contractions with no loss of consciousness
naked virus
a virus without an envelope covering the capsid
a sleep disorder in which inappropriate attacks of sleep occur during the daytime hours
a pain-modulating chemical derived from opium or synthetically produced
a device used in the administration of inhaled medications; uses air flowing past a liquid to create a mist
neoplastic disease
a disorder that occurs when normal cellular control mechanisms become altered; characterized by uncontrolled cellular growth and the development of abnormal cells; also referred to as cancer
glomerulotubular units that are the working units of the kidney
destructive to the kidneys
see antipsychotics
neuromuscular blocking
skeletal muscle paralysis
nerve cells
chemical substances that are selectively released from neurons and stimulate or inhibit activity in the target cells
New Drug Application (NDA)
the vehicle through which drug sponsors formally propose that the FDA approve a new pharmaceutical for sale and marketing in the United States
the addictive component of tobacco
failure to adhere to an appropriate drug regimen
nonnarcotic analgesics
drugs used for pain, inflammation, and fever that are not controlled substances
non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)
a drug that inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase at a different site than an NRTI targets
not related to disease
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic drugs that are not scheduled; used to treat arthritis and for other indications such as pain and inflammation
nosocomial infections
infections acquired by patients when they are in the hospital
nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)
a drug that inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase, to prevent the formation of RNA from proviral DNA causing a decrease in the amount of virus in the body and subsequent spread to other healthy cells
nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI)
a drug that inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase by competing with natural nucleic acid substrates, causing termination of chain formation
a state in which an individual’s total body weight includes greater quantities of fat than is considered normal (25% of total body weight for men and 35% for women)
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
recurrent, persistent urges to perform repetitive acts such as hand washing
administration of a medication through the eye
any narcotic that has opiate-like activity, i.e., insensibility or stupor
labeling antigenic material so that it is more readily identified and destroyed by macrophages
see peroral (PO)
oral complications
tissue injury of the oral cavity associated with chemotherapy and radiation
oral contraceptives (OCs)
hormonal compounds taken orally to prevent the occurrence of pregnancy
osmotic diuretic
a diuretic that increases the osmotic pressure of glomerular filtrate, thereby inhibiting tubular reabsorption of water and electrolytes and increasing urinary output
osmotic laxatives
stool softeners that draw water into the colon and thereby stimulate evacuation
a degenerative joint disease resulting in loss of cartilage, elasticity, and thickness
cells that form bone
cells that resorb bone
demineralization and weakening of the skeleton, caused by a deficiency of vitamin D in adults
reduction or weakening of bone mass
administration of a medication through the ear
damaging the organs of hearing
over-the-counter (OTC) drug
a drug sold without a prescription
the activation of electrical activity in afferent neurons with sensory endings in peripheral tissue with a higher firing threshold than those of temperature or touch; a protective signal to warn of damage or presence of disease; the fifth vital sign; classified as acute, chronic nonmalignant, and chronic malignant
intense, overwhelming, and uncontrollable anxiety
plants or animals that have the ability to live within another organism and survive at its expense; the parasite lives within the intermediate host during the larval stage and the definitive host at maturity
administration of medication by injection not by way of the alimentary canal
Parkinson’s disease
a neurologic disorder characterized by akinesia, resting tremor, and muscular rigidity
partial seizure
an abnormal electrical discharge centered in a specific area of the brain; usually caused by a trauma
partial thromboplastin time (PTT)
a test that measures the function of the intrinsic and common pathways; affected by heparin
passive immunity
protection against a disease as the result of receiving antibodies that were formed by another person or animal who developed them in response to being infected with the disease
a government grant that gives a drug company the sole right to manufacture a drug for a certain number of years; protects the company’s investment in the drug’s development
patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump
a means of pain control whereby the patient can regulate, within certain limits, the administration of pain medication
the top or upper limit of a drug’s concentration in the blood
peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR)
the maximum flow rate generated during a forced expiration, measured in liters per minute
peak flow meter
a device used to measure the PEFR as an indication of respiratory status; usually used twice a day by asthma patients
an infestation of lice
a class of antibiotics obtained from Penicillium chrysogenum; kill bacteria by preventing them from forming a rigid cell wall, thereby allowing an excessive amount of water to enter through osmosis and cause lysis of the bacterium cell
peptic disease
disorders of the upper GI tract caused by the action of acid and pepsin; includes mucosal injury, erythema erosions, and frank ulceration
peptic ulcer
an ulcer formed at any part of the GI tract exposed to acid and the enzyme pepsin
a therapy used for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients involving a tapping movement to induce cough and expectoration of sputum from the lungs; usually preceded by nebulizer therapy during which nebulized sterile water or normal saline is breathed to liquefy pulmonary secretions
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
the nerves and sense organs outside the CNS
the quality of allowing substances and electrolytes to leak through
peroral (PO)
administration of a medication by mouth in either solid form, as a tablet or capsule, or in liquid form, as a solution or syrup; often referred to as oral
minute red spots on the skin due to the escape of a small amount of blood
petit mal seizure
see absence seizure
one who is licensed to prepare and sell or dispense drugs and compounds and to fill prescriptions
the study and identification of natural sources of drugs
pharmacokinetic modeling
a method of describing the process of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of a drug within the body
the activity of a drug within the body over a period of time; includes absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination
pharmacologic effects
drug actions on a living system
the science of drugs and their interactions with the systems of living animals
official listings of medicinal preparations
pharmacy technician
an individual working in a pharmacy who, under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, assists in activities not requiring the professional judgment of a pharmacist
Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
a national organization that develops pharmacy technician standards and serves as a credentialing agency for pharmacy technicians
a Greek word meaning a magic spell, remedy, or poison that was used in early records to represent the concept of a drug
drugs that control vomiting by inhibiting the chemotrigger zone (CTZ)
an excessive response to solar radiation in the presence of a sensitizing agent
an inactive substance with no treatment value
small circular rings of DNA that are found in bacteria
a common lung infection, caused by microorganisms that gain access to the lower respiratory tract
the concurrent use of multiple medications
a time-saving process used when preparing a three-in-one total parenteral nutrition (TPN), in which all electrolytes except phosphate are put into a small-volume parenteral bag and then transferred into each batch
post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
the administration of antiretrovirals after exposure to HIV
potassium-sparing diuretics
diuretics that result in an exchange of the sodium excreted in urine for the potassium returned to the blood
the mechanical state of the heart at the end of diastole; along with afterload and contractility, determines cardiac output
an order for medication for a patient that is written by a physician or a qualified licensed practitioner to be filled by a pharmacist
primary site
the original site where a cancer tumor develops
a compound that on administration and chemical conversion by metabolic processes becomes an active pharmacological agent
pure, synthetic hormones that emulate the effects of progesterone, which prepares the uterus for the reception and development of the fertilized ovum
the part of plasmid DNA that starts protein production
prophylactic drugs
drugs that prevent or decrease the severity of a disease
prostaglandins (PGs)
any of a group of endogenous, chemically related, hydroxy fatty acids that stimulate contractility of uterine and other smooth muscle and have the ability to lower blood pressure, regulate stomach acid secretion, regulate body temperature, regulate platelet aggregation, and control inflammation and vascular permeability and affect certain hormones
protease inhibitor (PI)
a drug that prevents the cleavage of certain HIV protein precursors needed for the replication of new infectious virions
prothrombin time (PT)
a test that assesses the function of the extrinsic pathways of the coagulation system; affected by warfarin
proton pump inhibitors
drugs that block gastric acid secretion by inhibiting the parietal cell adenosine triphosphate (ATP) pump
single-cell organisms that inhabit water and soil
a skin disorder characterized by patches of red, scaly skin that are slightly raised with defined margins; usually occurs on the elbows and knees but can affect any part of the body
paralytic drooping of the upper eyelid
pulmonary embolism (PE)
sudden blocking of the pulmonary artery by a blood clot
pulse dosing
a regimen of dosing one week per month; commonly used for treating fungal nail infections
a class of antibiotics with rapid bactericidal action against most gram-negative and many gram-positive bacteria; work by causing DNA breakage and cell death; cross the blood-brain barrier
the process by which substances are pulled back into the blood after waste products have been removed during the formation of urine
a protein molecule on the surface of or within a cell that recognizes and binds with specific molecules, thereby producing some effect within the cell
recombinant DNA
a technique that uses living organisms or parts of organisms for specific purposes
backflow; specifically in GERD, the backflow of acidic stomach contents across an incompetent lower esophageal sphincter
the condition in which a tumor is inactive with no cell division or growth; typically, a goal of chemotherapy
lack of responsiveness of cancer cells to chemotherapy
respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
a syndrome occurring in newborns that is characterized by acute asphyxia with hypoxia and acidosis
immature red blood cells
reversible ischemic neurologic deficit (RIND) neurologic changes that reverse spontaneously but less rapidly than a transient ischemic attack (TIA) Reye’s syndrome
a condition that can develop in children who have been exposed to chicken pox or other viral infections and are given aspirin; characterized by amnesia, lethargy, disorientation, and agitation that can culminate in coma and respiratory failure
rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own connective tissue; characterized by inflammation of the synovial membrane of the joints
rhinitis medicamentosa
a condition of decreased response that results when nasal decongestants are used over prolonged periods
a toxin derived from the castor bean that acts by inhibiting protein synthesis
a fungus that infects the horny (scaly) layer of skin or the nails; also called tinea
chronic dermatologic disorder involving inflammation of the skin of the face; also called acne rosacea
a class of nonnarcotic analgesics that have both pain-relieving and antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties
mild salicylate intoxication, characterized by ringing in the ears, dizziness, headache, and mental confusion
saline laxatives
laxatives that attract water into the hollow portion of the colon, or lumina, and increase intraluminal pressure
a chronic psychotic disorder manifested by retreat from reality, delusions, hallucinations, ambivalence, withdrawal, and bizarre or regressive behavior
a skin condition caused by excessive secretion by the sebaceous glands; gives the skin an oily appearance
secondary diabetes
diabetes caused by drugs
secondary site
a new cancer tumor site that has spread from the original site
the release of cell products, including hydrogen and potassium ions and acids and bases, during urine formation
abnormal electrical discharges in the cerebral cortex caused by sudden, excessive firing of neurons; result in a change in behavior of which the patient is not aware
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
a class of antidepressant drugs that block the reuptake of serotonin, with little effect on norepinephrine and fewer side effects
a systemic inflammatory response to infection resulting from blood-borne infections
systemic disease associated with pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins in the blood; often called blood poisoning
side effects
secondary responses to a drug other than the primary therapeutic effect for which the drug was intended
slow viral infection
an infection that maintains a progressive course over months or years with cumulative damage to body tissues, ultimately ending in the host’s death
small lymphocytes
memory cells that carry information for the recognition of specific antigens
solid tumors
tumors that form a solid mass and can be palpated
a drug’s ability to dissolve in body fluids
somatic nervous system
the part of the efferent system of the PNS that regulates the skeletal muscles
somatic pain
dull, throbbing pain from skin, muscle, and bone
a device used with a metered dose inhaler (MDI) to decrease the amount of spray deposited on the back of the throat and swallowed
the property of a receptor site that enables it to bind only with a specific chemical messenger; to bind with a specific cell type, the messenger must have a chemical structure that is complementary to the structure of that cell’s receptors
stable angina
a type of angina characterized by effort-induced chest pain from physical activity or emotional stress; usually predictable and reproducible
status asthmaticus
a medical emergency that begins as an asthma attack but does not respond to normal management; can result in loss of consciousness and death
status epilepticus
a serious disorder involving tonic-clonic convulsions that last at least thirty minutes
Stevens-Johnson syndrome
a sometimes fatal form of erythema multiforme (redness of the skin)
a class of antibiotics that inhibit protein synthesis within the bacterial ribosomes; useful in the treatment of vancomycin- and methicillin-resistant infections
stress ulcer
a peptic ulcer, usually gastric, that occurs in a clinical setting; caused by a breakdown of natural mucosal resistance
stretch receptors
receptors in the lungs and airways that respond to elongation of muscle, causing a cough
the result of an event (finite, ongoing, or protracted occurrences) that interrupts oxygen supply to an area of the brain; usually caused by cerebral infarction or cerebral hemorrhage
administration of a medication by injecting it into the tissue just beneath the skin
administration of a drug by placing a tablet under the tongue
substantia nigra
a layer of gray substance separating parts of the brain
sulfa drugs; a class of bacteriostatic antibiotics that work by blocking a specific step in the biosynthetic pathway of folic acid in bacteria
a new infection complicating the course of therapy of an existing infection
supportive therapy
therapy for poisoning that consists of establishing the airway and providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); maintaining body temperature, nutritional status, and fluid and electrolyte balance; and preventing circulatory collapse, hypoglycemia, uremia, and liver failure
formation or discharge of pus
stool softeners that have a detergent activity that facilitates admixture of fat and water to make the stool soft and mushy
systemic effect
an action of a drug that has a generalized, all-inclusive effect on the body
systolic blood pressure
a blood pressure measurement that measures the pressure during contraction of the heart
T cells
lymphocytes that respond directly to antigens by producing clones; involved in cellular immunity
very rapid respiration causing a flushed appearance; a characteristic of emphysema
tardive dyskinesia
involuntary movements of the mouth, lips, and tongue
a cell or an organ that is affected by a particular hormone
the portion of plasmid DNA that stops protein production
a hormone that is responsible for sperm production, sexual potency, and the maintenance of muscle mass and strength, among other functions
a class of broad-spectrum bacteriostatic antibiotics that are produced by soil organisms and inhibit protein synthesis by binding to bacterial ribosomes
therapeutic drugs
drugs that relieve symptoms of a disease
therapeutic effect
the desired action of a drug in the treatment of a particular disease state or symptom
therapeutic range
the optimum dosage, providing the best chance for successful therapy; dosing below this range has little effect on the healing process while overdosing can lead to toxicity and death
thiazide diuretics
diuretics that promote sodium and water excretion in the urine, lower the sodium level in vessel walls, and reduce vasoconstriction
stationary blood clots
a decrease in the bone marrow production of blood platelets
thyroid gland
a gland that produces hormones that stimulate various body tissues to increase their activity level
thyroid storm
a life-threatening medical emergency with the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, but more exaggerated
alcohols having the properties of vitamin E
a decrease in response to the effects of a drug due to its continued administration
tonic-clonic seizure
see grand mal seizure
the relationship of a solution to the body’s own fluids; measured by determining the number of dissolved particles in solution
deposits of sodium urate around a joint
medication applied to the surface of the skin or mucous membranes
total nutrient admixture (TNA)
an amino acid–dextrose–lipid formulation used for parenteral nutrition; often called three-in-one
total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
feeding a patient through the veins
the reading of information from a DNA strand onto an RNA strand, which then serves as a messenger
transient ischemic attack (TIA)
temporary neurologic changes that occur over a brief period of time; may be a warning sign and predictor of imminent stroke
traveler’s diarrhea
diarrhea caused by ingesting contaminated food or water; so called because it is often contracted by travelers in countries where the water supply is contaminated
tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
a class of antidepressant drugs that prevent neuron reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin
the lowest level of a drug in the blood
tuberculosis (TB)
a disease of the lungs and other body tissues and organs caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis
type I diabetes
insulin-dependent diabetes, in which the pancreas has no ability to produce insulin
type II diabetes
a type of diabetes characterized by insulin insufficiency or by the resistance of the target tissues to the insulin produced
a local defect or excavation of the surface of an organ or tissue
ulcerative colitis
irritation and inflammation of the large bowel, causing it to look scraped; characterized by bloody mucus leading to watery diarrhea containing blood, mucus, and pus
unipolar depression
major depression with no mania
unstable angina
a type of angina characterized by chest pain that occurs with increasing frequency, diminishes the patient’s ability to work, and has a decreasing response to treatment; may signal an oncoming myocardial infarction (MI)
the clinical syndrome resulting from renal dysfunction in which excessive products of protein metabolism are retained in the blood
urinary tract infections (UTIs)
infections caused by bacteria, usually E. coli, that enter via the urethra and progress up the urinary tract; characterized by the presence of bacteria in the urine with localized symptoms
the introduction of a vaccine, a component of an infectious agent, into the body to produce immunity to the actual agent
variant angina
a type of angina characterized by chest pain due to coronary artery spasm; usually not stress induced
vascular theory
a theory that proposes that migraine headaches are caused by vasodilation and the concomitant mechanical stimulation of sensory nerve endings
affecting blood vessels
the sensation of the room spinning when one gets up or changes positions; can be treated with anticholinergic agents
very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs)
lipoproteins containing 60% triglycerides and 12% cholesterol
the development of male characteristics
an individual viral particle capable of infecting a living cell; consists of nucleic acid surrounded by a capsid (protein shell)
a minute infectious agent that does not have all the components of a cell and thus can replicate only within a living host cell
visceral pain
sharp, stabbing pain from the organs
organic substances that occur in many foods and are necessary for the normal metabolic functioning of the body
virally caused epidermal tumors
water-soluble vitamins
vitamins that are excreted in the urine and are not stored in the body; vitamin C and the B vitamins
xanthine derivative
a drug that causes relaxation of airway smooth muscle, thus causing airway dilation and better air movement

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