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the process by which a drug passes into the bloodstream

Adverse effects

more severe side effects which may justify the discontinuation of a drug


a drug that interacts with a receptor to produce a response


a small glass container for individual doses of liquid medications

Anaphylactic reaction

a severe allergic reaction usually occurs immediately after the administration of the drug


the part of the needle, which is the slanted part at the tip of the needle


process by which a drug is converted to a less active form; also called detoxification

Brand name

the name given by the drug manufacturer


pertaining to the cheek

Chemical name

the name by which a chemist knows the drug; describes the constituents of the drug precisely

Cumulative effect

the increasing response to repeated doses of a drug that occurs when the rate of administration exceeds the rate of metabolism or excretion

Desired effect

see therapeutic effect


a process by which a drug is converted to a less active form


the transportation of a drug from its site of absorption to its site of action


a chemical compound taken for disease prevention, diagnosis, cure, or relief or to affect the structure or function of the body

Drug abuse

excessive intake of a substance either continually or periodically

Drug allergy

an immunologic reaction to a drug

Drug dependence

inability to keep the intake of a drug or substance under control

Drug habituation

a mild form of psychologic dependence on a drug

Drug half-life

the time required for the elimination process to reduce the concentration of the drug to one half what it was at initial administration

Drug interaction

the beneficial or harmful interaction of one drug with another drug

Drug polymorphism

a client's variation in response to a drug is influenced by age, gender, size, and body composition

Drug tolerance

a condition in which successive increases in the dosage of a drug are required to maintain a given therapeutic effect

Drug toxicity

the quality of a drug that exerts a deleterious effect on an organism or tissue

Elimination half-life

see drug half-life


commonly used routes for parenteral administration into the epidural space


elimination of a waste product produced by the body cells from the body

Gastrostomy tube

a tube which is surgically placed directly into the client's stomach and provides another route for administering nutrition and medications


diameter of the shaft

Generic name

a drug name not protected by trademark and usually describing the chemical structure of the drug


the part of the needle, which fits onto the syringe


under the skin

Hypodermic syringe

a type of syringe that comes in 2-, 2.5-, and 3-mL sizes; the syringe usually has two scales marked on it: the minim and the milliliter

Iatrogenic disease

disease caused unintentionally by medical therapy

Idiosyncratic effect

a different, unexpected or individual effect from the normal one usually expected from a medication; the occurrence of unpredictable and unexplainable symptoms

Illicit drugs

drugs that are sold illegally; street drugs

Inhibiting effect

the decreased effect of one or both drugs

Insulin syringe

similar to a hypodermic syringe, but the scale is specially designed for insulin: a 100-unit calibrated scale intended for use with U-100 insulin


under the epidermis (into the dermis)

Intradermal injection

the administration of a drug into the dermal layer of the skin just beneath the epidermis


into the muscle

Intramuscular injection

injections into muscle tissue are absorbed more quickly than subcutaneous injections because of the greater blood supply to the body muscles


into the spinal cord


see Intraspinal


within a vein


an irrigation or washing of a body organ, such as the stomach


a substance administered for the diagnosis, cure, treatment, relief of a symptom, or prevention of disease


the sum of all the physical and chemical processes by which living substance is formed and maintained and by which energy is made available for use by the organism


end products or enzymes

Metered-dose inhaler (MDI)

a handheld nebulizer, which is a pressurized container of medication that can be used by the client to release the medication through a mouthpiece


the basic unit of measure in the apothecary system, equal to 0.0616 mL

Nasogastric tube

a tube is inserted by way of the nasopharynx and is placed into the client's stomach for the purpose of feeding the client or to remove gastric secretions


Latin word nil per os "nothing by mouth"

Official name

the name under which a drug is listed in one of the official publications (e.g., the United States Pharmacopeia)

Onset of action

the time after administration when the body initially responds to the drug


referring to the eye


referring to the mouth


referring to the ear


drug administration occurring outside the alimentary tract; injected into the body through some route other than the alimentary canal (e.g., intramuscularly)

Peak plasma level

the concentration of a drug in the blood plasma that occurs when the elimination rate equals the rate of absorption


the route of absorption of topical medications through the skin


a person licensed to prepare and dispense drugs and prescriptions


the process by which a drug alters cell physiology


the study of the absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion of drugs


the scientific study of the actions of drugs on living animals and humans


a book containing a list of drug products used in medicine, including their descriptions and formulas


the art of preparing, compounding, and dispensing drugs; also refers to the place where drugs are prepared and dispensed

Physiologic dependence

biochemical changes occurring in the body as a result of excessive use of a drug


a maintained concentration of a drug in the plasma during a series of scheduled doses

Potentiating effect

the increased effect of one or both drugs

Prefilled unit-dose system

injectable medications that are disposable and are available as (a) prefilled syringes ready for use or (b) prefilled sterile cartridges and needles that require the attachment of a reusable holder (injection system) before use


the written direction for the preparation and administration of a drug

Prn order

as needed order, permits the nurse to give a medication when, in the nurse's judgment, the client requires it

Psychologic dependence

a state of emotional reliance on a drug to maintain one's well-being; a feeling of need or craving for a drug


the technique of adding a solvent to a powdered drug to prepare it for injection


the part of the needle, which is attached to the hub

Side effect

the secondary effect of a drug that is unintended; usually predictable and may be either harmless or potentially harmful

Single order

common medication order which "one-time order" is for medication to be given once at a specified time

Specific antagonists

drugs that have no special pharmacologic action of their own but that inhibit or prevent the action of an agonist

Stat order

common medication order which indicates that the medication is to be given immediately and only once


beneath the layers of the skin, hypodermic


under the tongue

Synergistic effect

see Potentiating effect

Therapeutic effect

the primary effect intended of a drug; reason the drug is prescribed


applied externally (e.g., to the skin or mucous membranes)


see Brand name

Transdermal patch

a particular type of topical or dermatologic medication delivery system

Tuberculin syringe

originally designed to administer tuberculin; a narrow syringe, calibrated in tenths and hundredths of a milliliter (up to 1 mL) on one scale and in sixteenths of a minim (up to 1 minim) on the other scale


a glass medication container with a sealed rubber cap, for single or multiple doses

Volume control infusion set

small fluid containers (100 to 150 mL in size) attached below the primary infusion container so that the medication is administered through the client's IV line

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