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Adverse Effects

Drugs effects that are not the desired therapeutic effects; may be unpleasant or even dangerous

Brand name

name given to a drug by the pharmaceutical company that developed it; also called a trade name

Chemical name

name that reflects the chemical structure of a drug


chemicals that are introduced into the body to bring about some sort of change

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

federal agency responsible for the regulation and enforcement of drug evaluation and distribution policies

Generic drugs

drugs sold by their chemical name; not brand )or trade) name products

Generic Name

the original designation that a drug is given when the drug company that developed it applies for the approval process

Genetic engineering

process of altering DNA, usually of bacteria, to produce a chemical to be used as a drug

Orphan drug

drugs that have been discovered but would not be profitable for a drug company to develop; usually drugs that would treat only a small number of people; these orphans can be adopted by drug companies to develop


drugs that are available without a prescription for self-treatment of a variety of complaints; deemed to be safe when used as directed


the study of the biological effects of chemicals


clinical pharmacology- the branch of pharmacology that deals with drugs; chemicals that are used in medicine for the treatment, prevent, and diagnosis of disease in humans

phase 1 study

a pilot study of a potential drug done with a small number of selected, healthy human volunteers

phase 2 study

a clinical study of a proposed drug by selected physicians using actual patients who have the disorder the drug is designed to treat; patients must provide informed consent

phase 3 study

use of a proposed drug on a wide scale in the clinical setting with patients who have the disease the drug is thought to treat

phase 4 study

continual evaluation of a drug after it has been released for marketing

preclinical trials

initial trial of a chemical thought to have therapeutic potential; uses laboratory animals, not human subjects


having adverse effects on the fetus


what happens to a drug from the time it enters the body until it enters the circulating fluid; intravenous administration causes the drug to directly enter the circulating blood, bypassing the many complication of absorption from other routes

active transport

the movement of substances across a cell membrane against the concentration gradient; this process requires the use of energy biotransformation

chemotherapeutic agents

synthetic chemicals used to interfere with the functioning of foreign cell populations; this term is frequently used to refer to the drug therapy of neoplasm, but it also refers to drug therapy affecting any foreign cell

critical concentration

the concentration a drug must reach in the tissues that respond to the particular drug to cause the desired effect


movement of a drug to body tissues; the places where a drug may be distributed depend on the drug's solubility, perfusion of the area, cardiac output, and binding of the drug to plasma proteins

Enzyme induction

process by which the presenceof a chemical that is biotransformed by a particular enzyme system in the liver causes increased activity of that enzyme system


removal of a drug from the body; primarily occurs in the kidneys, but can also occur through the skin, lungs, bile, or feces

First-pass effect

a phenomenon in which drugs given orally are carried directly to the liver after absorption, where they may be largely inactivated by liver enzymes before they can enter the general circulation; oral drugs frequently are given in higher doses than drugs given by other routes because of this early breakdown

Glomerular filtration

the passage of water and water-soluble components from the plasma into the renal tubule


the time it takes for the amount of drug in the body to decrease to one half of the peak level it previously acheived

Hepatic microsomal system

liver enzymes tightly packed together in the hepatic intracellular structure, responsible for the biotransformation of chemicals, including drugs

Loading dose

use of a higher does than that which is usually used for treatment to allow the drug to reach the critical concentration sooner

Passive diffusion

movement of substances across a semipermeable membrane with the concentration gradient; this process does not require energy


the science that deals with the interactions between the chemical components of living systems and the foreign chemicals, including drugs, that enter living organisms; the way a drug affects a body


the study of genetically determined variations in the response to drugs


the way the body deals with a drug, including absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion

Placebo effect

documented effect of the mind on drug therapy; if a person percieves that a drug will be effective, the drug is much more likely to actually be effective

Receptor sites

specific areas on cell membranes that react with certain chemicals to cause an effect within the cell

Selective toxicity

Property of a chemotherapeutic agent that affects only systems found in foreign cells without affecting healthy human cells

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