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Generic Name

The official or proprietary name for the drug

Brand Name

Also known as trade name and proprietary name. Chose by the drug company and is usually a registered trademark owned by that specific manufacturer.

Therapeutic effect

Consequences of a medical treatment of any kind, the results of which are judges to be desirable and beneficial.

Side effect

Physiologic effects not related to desired drug effects.

Allergic reactions

Or adverse reactions. more severe than side effects. Includes anaphylaxis. Always undesirable.

Toxic effects

Also known as toxicity. Can be identified by monitoring the plasma (serum) therapeutic range of the drug.


A structural or behavioral trait peculiar to an individual or a group. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

Therapeutic index

Estimates the margin of safety of a drug through the use of a ratio that measures the effective dose (ED) in 50% of persons or animals (ED50) and the lethal dose (LD) in 50% of animals. The closer the ratio is to 1, the greater the danger of toxicity.

Clinical trials

Highly regulated and carefully controlled patient studies where either new drugs or novel methods of treatment are investigated.


Federal Drug Administration. Started in 1938 - to monitor and regulate the manufacture and marketing of drugs.

Controlled Substance Act

1970 - Designed to remedy the escalating problem of drug abuse. Included several provisions: The promotion of drug education and research into the prevention and treatment of drug dependence and the strengthening of enforcement authority. The establishment of treatment and rehabilitation facilities and the designation of schedules or categories for controlled substances according to abuse liability.


The study of drug concentration and its effects on the body.


A subcategory of absorption. The % of administered drug dose that reaches the systemic circulation.

Protein binding effect

The amount of drug bound to protein determines how effective the drug is in the body. So if a drug is 95% bound to a binding protein and 5% is free, that means 5% of the drug is active in the system and causing pharmacological effects.

Blood brain barrier

Specialized capillary membranes in the brain that limit entry of toxic molecules in the brain.

First pass effect

Metabolism of molecules by enzymes in the stomach, intestine and live before the molecules reach the bloodstream.

Drug half life

The duration of action of a drug is known as its half life. The period of time required for the concentration or amount of drug in the body to be reduced by half.

Peak and trough

The highest and lowest drug levels in the plasma as measured overtime.


A drug that initiates a receptor response after binding to a receptor. Agonists mimic the endogenous ligand.


A drug that binds to a receptor and blocks a receptor response. Antagonists block the endogenous ligand.

Receptor sites

A location on a cell surface where certain molecules such as enzymes, neurotransmitters, or viruses attach to interact w/cellular components.


Occurs when cells have undergone down-regulation and become desensitized.


Drug tolerance that occurs quickly as a result of continual exposure of the receptor to an agonist


Causing fetal abnormalities; tetragens are drugs that cause fatal abnormalities.

Loading dose

Large dose (Equal to the total amount of drug in the body @ the desired steady state drug level) administered to patients to get them to CSS level quickly.

Placebo effect

A physical or emotional change occurring after a substance is taken or administered that is not the result of any special property of the substance.


The use of a number of different drugs by a patient who may have one or several healthy problems.

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