Medicament Basics

Allopathic remedies are available in various forms including liquids, tablets, capsules, injections, suppositories, aerosol inhalants and trans-dermal patches. In addition, you can avail them as sprays, drops, ointments, creams and lotions.

When we talk about medicines, it is essential to mention generic as well as the brand name of a particular medicament. The generic name of a medicament actually denotes it scientific name, while the manufacturer chooses the brand name of the medicament for the purpose of marketing it. Generally, compared to the generic name of a medicament, its brand name is shorter as well as easier to remember. For instance, Celexa is the brand name, generic name - citalopram, for the drug used to treat depression.

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Nearly all medications enclose inert or inactive constituents that act as fillers, solvents, dyes for the active ingredients of these medicines. In fact, drug manufacturers opt for inert elements that sustain the medication, but do not get in the way of the actions of the active components of the medicine.

The names of the inactive substances are mentioned on the labels of over-the-counter medications. However, prescription drugs do not list the inert substances contained by them on their product label. However, you may ask your pharmacist to tell you about the inert substances contained in a prescription drug.

Although rare, some tablets, liquids or capsules may enclose a little proportion of sugar, sodium or potassium. In case you are following a diet that strictly limits the use of any of these substances you may request your physician or pharmacist to recommend a different form of the same medication.

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Again, there are a number of liquid medications that enclose some proportion of alcohol. You should be careful to avoid such medications in case you are prone to the negative impacts of alcohol.

You need to follow specific guidelines for using particular forms of medicaments. In case you are using a medication that is available as a suspension, you need to shake the bottle properly before you use the medicine. It is advisable that you should never make use of silverware spoons for giving such medications. The main reason for it is that silver spoons do not have a uniform size. While one silver spoon may be equivalent to half of a normal spoon, there may be others that are double the size of a normal spoon. It is best to use measuring spoons that are used for cooking. Although they are perfect, they seem to spill the medicaments easily.

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While administering liquid medicaments, use of oral syringes offer certain advantages. Oral syringes are not only precise; it is also easy to use them. Alternately, you may also take a capped syringe that contains just a single dose of the medication to the daycare center or school where your child may be studying.

Nevertheless, using oral syringes may also cause problems. The FDA has received reports of young children suffocating due to the syringe caps. Therefore, to ensure their safe use you should take away the syringe caps prior to using the oral syringes. You may discard the caps if you don't require using them in future. However, if you require them, you need to keep them beyond the reach of small children and infants.

Using dosing caps are also a useful way of giving medications. However, there have been dosing errors while measuring the medication doses with these caps. Therefore, you should make sure that the units (tablespoon, teaspoon, ml and others) marked on the syringe or cap should correspond with the units of the dose that needs to be given.

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Usually, the liquid medications do not have a pleasant flavour. However, several flavours are available currently and can be added to any of these liquid medications. It is advisable that you check with your pharmacist regarding the flavour that would suit you best.

A habit for taking a particular medication may either be physical or mental and any of them may result in a dependence on the medicament. Usually medicament dependence takes place when there is an intense or undeniable craving to keep on taking a particular medication with a view to experience the effects of the medication or to prevent the symptoms that occur when the medication is discontinued. However, when the medicament dependence is psychological it does not result in hazardous withdrawal effects. Nevertheless, in such situations one may experience trauma and undesirable behavioural changes till the medicament habit is overcome.

All medications having the same chemical structure or same remedial actions are classified under one group. Nearly all medications in a particular class offer the same benefits, cause similar side effects, adverse reactions as well as interactions with different other medicines and substances. For instance, every genetic medication that belongs to the narcotic class of medicines will have identical consequences on our body.

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Side effects or adverse reactions caused by a medication are basically symptoms that may possibly take place whenever you take any medication. They are harmful outcomes on our body, except the remedial effects of the medicine. In fact, the expression 'side effect' entails the likely as well as generally unfavourable consequences of a particular medication. It is important to note that the side effects do not have any relation whatsoever with the purpose for which the medication is used. For instance, use of the generic drug paregoric lessens vomiting and intestinal cramps. However, frequently, the use of this medicament also results in flushed faces, which is actually a side effect of using this medication. However, this side effect is not harmful and does not interfere with the medicine's remedial potentials. Several side effects usually go away in a brief while and you do not require any treatment for them.

The expression 'adverse reaction' is more noteworthy because it talks about the unfavourable reactions caused by a medication. For instance, in a number of people the medication paregoric has the ability to result in an acute allergic reaction. Such allergic reactions may include rash, hives or relentless itching. It is possible to avoid a number of adverse reactions. Usually, majority of the adverse reactions caused by medications persist for just a brief period. In the case of several medicines, the intensity of the adverse reactions caused by them will reduce gradually as our body adapts to the medicament.

When used for appropriate reasons, most of the medicines provide us with advantages that certainly outweigh the potential risks of using them. It is also important to note that when you are using a medication for quite some time, you should not discontinue it all of a sudden. Many people usually discontinue a medication when their symptoms start disappearing, but it may take much longer for them to fully recover from their condition. There are other people who keep on taking medications even when they actually do not require them any longer. Symptoms or side effects of a number of medications appear several days or even weeks after you have stopped taking them.

Now the question is what you should do if you need to take two or additional medications simultaneously. You should know that many medications actually cause adverse reactions when they are taken in conjunction. However, it is fortunate that such adverse reactions take place only in a few people who may be taking drugs that interact with each other when used in conjunction. Irrespective of the fact you are using prescription or over-the-counter drugs, some medications have the aptitude to interact with others inside your body. When such drug interactions occur in our body, they disturb the assimilation, metabolism, distribution or elimination of any one medication. Several other factors may also affect drug interactions and these include the age and health condition of a patient, in addition to the manner in which the medicines are used. Apart from these, the time when the medicine is taken, the dosage, the forms of dosage, the manner in which the medication is taken and the period for which a patient is being treated all influence drug interactions.

Investigations have not been undertaken in all possible combinations of medicines. Hence, it is important that you should always inform your physician or pharmacist about all the prescription as well as over-the-counter medications that you may be taking.

You ought to remember always that you should carefully read the instructions on the prescription label. At the same time you need to ensure that the medicine's name as well as the condition for which it is meant is specified. You should also ask your pharmacist to provide you with a printed copy of the information sheets regarding the medicines that the physician has prescribed for you. In case you are taking two or more medications, make sure that the label of every container contains the medicine's name and also the health condition it is meant to treat.

Prescription medicament
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicament
Generic medicament
Making choice
Medicament allergies, part 2, part 3
Vaccination and immunization
Antibiotics, part 2, part 3 / Use and abuse / Bacterial Resistance, part 2, part 3
Steroids / Mechanisms of steroids / Health consequences of steroid use / Steroid dependence
Glossary

Major medicament groups
Allergy
Brain and Nervous System, part 2, part 3
Eyes and Ears
Gastrointestinal Tract
Heart and Circulation, part 2, part 3, part 4
Hormones and Endocrine System
Infections and Infestations, part 2, part 3
Malignant and Immune Disease
Muscles, and Joints, part 2
Reproductive and Urinary Tracts
Respiratory System
Skin
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