- Adverse Reaction
- Side effect. Any unintended, abnormal reaction
to a medicine taken at normal doses.
- Medication that relieves painful symptoms, especially headache, and muscle soreness.
Some analgesics may be applied topically to relieve itching or muscle pain.
- Anemia, Aplastic
- A form of anemia in which the bone marrow is unable to manufacture
adequate numbers of
blood cells of all types - red cells, white cells, and platelets.
- Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE) Inhibitors
- A class of medicaments that acts by blocking an enzyme in the blood
responsible for converting angiotensin 1 to
angiotensin 2. Angiotensin 2 induces sodium retention
and constriction of peripheral blood vessels,
raising blood pressure. Birth defects and fetal deaths
have been associated, however, with the use of
ACE inhibitors during pregnancy and in 1992, the FDA issued an advisory to physicians against
prescribing it for women in the second and last
trimester of pregnancy. Among the ACE inhibitors available: benazepril, captopril, enalapril,
fosinopril, lisinopril, quinapril, and ramipril.
- A chemical compound that
kills or inhibits the growth of
produced from living organisms such as other
- A protein in the blood formed to
neutralize or destroy foreign substances or
organisms (antigens). Each antibody is tailor made for
- A wide range of medications used principally to prevent or relieve the
symptoms of depression. These medications
include the benzodiazepines, beta-blockers,
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and tricyclics.
- Slowing of the heartbeat to
less than fifty beats per minute.
- Benzodiazepines (Rx)
- One of the most frequently prescribed classes of medicaments,
which includes minor tranquilizers, antianxiety medicaments,
muscle relaxants, and sleep-inducing medications.
There are more than twelve benzodiazepines
on the market. Among these are chlordiazepoxide, clorazepate, flurazepam, oxazepam and,
perhaps the best known, diazepam (Valium). They
are relatively safe in overdose. Among the
potential adverse reactions to these medications are
impaired memory, hallucination, muscle
weakness, unusual bleeding or bruising, and behavioral problems.
- Beta-Blockers (Rx)
- Medicaments that slow heart activity and, thus, lower blood pressure:
acebutolol, labetalol, nadolol, oxprenolol,
propranolol, timolol, esmolol,
atenolol, metoprolol, and
others. They are used to treat angina (chest pain),
high blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythms.
Given after a heart attack, they reduce the
likelihood of fatal irregular heartbeat or further
damage to the heart muscle. These medicaments are also
prescribed to improve heart function in damaged
hearts. Beta-blockers may also be used to prevent
migraine headaches, reduce anxiety, control fluid
pressure in the eye, and for an overactive thyroid.
There are two types of beta-receptors. Beta 1
receptors are located mainly in the heart muscle
and beta 2 receptors are in the airways and blood
vessels. Specific receptors on cells are tailor-made to receive specific chemicals in a lock
and key fashion. Beta-blockers occupy the
beta-receptors in these areas. By blocking these
receptors, they block the stimulating action of the
nerve-stimulating chemical, norepinephrine. Thus,
they reduce the force and speed of the heart beat,
and prevent the dilation of the airways to the
lungs and the blood vessels surrounding the brain
and leading to the extremities. Medicaments for the heart
act mainly on beta 1 receptors. Beta-blockers
usually are not prescribed for people who have poor
circulation, particularly in the legs and arms. Beta-blockers should not be discontinued suddenly
after prolonged use because this may worsen the
symptoms of the disorders for which they were
prescribed. They should not be taken with foods,
beverages, or over-the-counter medications that
contain caffeine or
alcohol, or are high in sodium
content, because the combination may increase
heart rate or elevate blood pressure.
- Blood Cells
- Cells are produced in bone marrow and consist of:
- Red blood cells, which bring oxygen to tissues and take carbon dioxide from them.
- White blood cells, which fight invading germs, infections, and allergy-causing agents.
- Platelets, which are responsible for clotting.
- Blood Counts
- The number values assigned to the major types of blood cells. Blood
counts indicate the amount of blood cells circulating in the bloodstream.
- Bone Marrow Depression
- A serious reduction in the ability of the bone marrow to carry on its normal
production of white blood cells. This can occur as a result of certain
chemicals, as well as disease. Impairment of blood cell production can lead to a
drop in immunity, lack of energy, intolerance to cold, and a host of other
- Calcium Channel Blockers (Rx)
- Medicaments that affect the movement of calcium
into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a
result, they relax blood vessels and increase the
supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, while
reducing the work of the organ. Some of the
medicines are used to treat high blood pressure.
Among calcium channel blockers in use are:
verapamil. Potential adverse reactions
include breathing difficulty, coughing or wheezing, irregular or fast heartbeat,
slow heartbeat, rash, swelling of the ankles, feet or lower leg, bleeding,
tender or swollen gums, chest pain, fainting and, for nifedipine only, eye
problems and painful swollen joints.
- Central Nervous System (CNS)
- Composed of the brain and the spinal cord with its
bundle of nerves running through it.
- Abbreviation for Deoxyribonucleic
Acid. A chain of molecules that contains the
genetic code (blueprint) of cells.
- A hormone produced by the
ovaries, it is mainly responsible for female sexual
characteristics. Estrogen influences bone mass by
slowing or halting bone loss, improving retention
of calcium by the kidneys, and improving the
absorption of dietary calcium by the intestines.
Estrogen is given to relieve menopausal
symptoms, prevent or relieve aging changes in the
vagina and urethra, and to help prevent
osteoporosis. Potential adverse reactions include
increased risk medicaments of uterine cancer, increased
frequency of gallstones, accelerated growth of preexisting fibroid tumors of the uterus, fluid
retention, nausea, rash, hives, itching, headache,
nervous tension, irritability, accentuation of
migraine, bloating, diarrhea, pigmentation of the
face, postmenopausal bleeding, deep vein blood clots,
increased blood pressure, and decreased sugar
tolerance. May cause swelling and tenderness of
breasts, milk production, and increased vaginal
secretions. When taking estrogens, it is
recommended that salt be used sparingly if fluid
retention is a problem. Smoking cigarettes may
increase the side effects of estrogen.
- A new term in diabetes which is also known as Glycated protein.
Fructosamine is used in conjunction with glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C)
to check to see how well blood sugar has been controlled. Unlike A1C,
fructosamine gives a picture of glucose control for prior weeks versus months. There
is a home glucose meter that tests fructosamine.
- Hemoglobin (Hb)
- Oxygen-carrying pigment found in the red blood cells of all
vertebrates and some invertabrates. Produced in the bone marrow, hemoglobin
carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors, MAOIs)
- A class of antidepressant medications usually prescribed for
people who have not responded to tricyclic
antidepressants, or who have certain forms of
depression with symptoms including an increase
in weight, appetite, or sleep. MAOIs also may be
used for cases of mixed anxiety and depression,
depression accompanied by pain, panic disorder,
posttraumatic stress disorder, and bipolar
depression. The medicaments raise the level of
neurotransmitters by preventing their destruction by enzymes.
People taking MAOIs must adhere to a special
diet due to the interaction of the medications with
certain foods. Foods that contain tyramine,
such as cheeses, yogurt, sour cream, beef or
chicken liver, and red wines should be avoided.
The combination of MAOIs and tyramine can
cause blood pressure to shoot up to dangerous
levels. Potential adverse reactions include
headache, increased or decreased heart rate,
nausea and vomiting, sweating, fever or cold clammy
skin, and chest pain.
- A scientific term for the nerve
damage that can occur as a side
effect of certain medicaments or toxins.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medicaments (NSAIDs) (Rx, OTC)
- Aspirin was
the first fever-reducing, painkilling, nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory medicament. The first nonaspirin
NSAID was introduced in 1964. Today these
include diclofenac, etodolac, ibuprofen,
indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, sulindac, and
nabumetone. They inhibit arachidonic acid, a fatty
acid precursor of leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and
thromboxanes, all involved in inflammation. NSAlDs are now widely used to treat the pain of
arthritis, menstruation, post surgery, and many
other aches. Nonaspirin NSAIDs are used instead
of aspirin because, on the whole, they may be
better tolerated than aspirin and more convenient in
dosage. The chief side effects of NSAlDs are
gastrointestinal ulcers, and upper GI bleeding and
perforation. According to the FDA, 2-5 percent of patients
will experience ulceration or hemorrhage during
one year's NSAID treatment, and the risk for
individual patients accumulates with time.
Nonaspirin NSAlDs do not have an anticoagulant
effect, but can cause the same hypersensitivity
reactions. In a few susceptible patients, NSAIDs
have provoked reversible acute kidney failure and
chronic kidney dysfunction.
- A rare condition characterized
by the gradual development of an intricate,
complex, and elaborate system of thinking based on
misinterpretations of an actual event. Persons with
paranoia often consider themselves endowed with
unique and superior abilities.
- A condition in which the application or ingestion of certain chemicals,
such as propylparaben, causes skin
problems, including rash, hyperpigmentation, and
swelling, when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
- A compound that calms the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety.
Phenobarbital is an example of a prescription
for this purpose. Diphenhydramine is an example
of a nonprescription sedative, and valerian and
skullcap are examples of herbs used for this purpose.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (Rx)
- The most widely used class of antidepressant
medications. Tricyclics are usually the fist to be
prescribed for patients with what is known as
"major depression." Some tricyclics, such as
amitriptyline are given to people who have
trouble sleeping, because they have a sedative
effect. Others such as imipramine
or amoxapine have a stimulant effect and are given to
people who are lethargic. Tricyclics should not be
taken with breads, crackers, cookies, cheeses,
peanut butter, corn, lentils, cranberries, plums,
prunes, peanuts, bacon, eggs, fish, or fowl. These
may make tricyclics less effective. Tricyclics,
reportedly, work in only two-thirds of patients to
whom they are given.
Major medicament groups
Medicaments in alphabetical order