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Drug Dosage Terminology

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Average Dose
amount of medication proven to be effective with minimal side effects for an adult.
Cumulative dose
Total amount of medication in the body after repeated doses or medication that accumulates in the body over time. Some medications must be taken for a time before the desired effect is reached, and others may have a toxic effect as the cumulative effect of a drug increases.
Divided Dose
total amount of medication that is administred in seperate doses.
Initial dose
first dose of medication administered.
Lethal dose
the size dose that will cause death.
Maintenance dose
the dose of drug that maintains or keeps the drug in the therapeutic range.
Maximum dose
largest quantity that can be given without probable harmful effects.
Miniumum dose
smallest amount of medication that can be prescribed to be effective in treatment.
Toxic dose
dose of a drug having damaging or harmful effects or producing S&S of toxicity.
Unit dose
drug dosage system that provides prepackaged, prelabeled, individual medications that are ready for immediate use by the patient.
FDA
Food and Drug Administration. The agency that is responsible for determining if a food or drug is safe and effective enough to be sold to the public.
DEA
federal agency responsible for enforcing laws and regulations governing narcotics and controlled substances.
Prescribe
is to indicate, by either written or verbal order, a medication given to a patient.
Dispense
is to deliver a medication into a patient's possession after it has been prepared.
Administer
is to "give" a medication to a patient for the sole purpose of that medication being ingested by the patient.