Pharmacology terms

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action

ac·tion

/'akSHən/

Noun

The action of a medication is its desired therapeutic effect on the body. For example, the action of epinephrine is to stimulate the “fight or flight” response by increasing the heart rate, contracting the blood vessels, and dilating the lower airway.

adverse side effect

ad·verse side ef·fect

/adˈvərs sīd iˈfekt/

Noun

An adverse side effect is an untoward change of health in a patient who has received a medication. For example, epinephrine raises the blood pressure, which could be a problem for some patients.

assisted medication

as·sist·ed med·i·ca·tion

/əˈsist'ed ˌmedəˈkāSHən/

Noun

Depending on the policies and medical control of individual EMS systems, prehospital care providers may be permitted to assist patients in taking their own medication that had previously been prescribed by a doctor. These can be referred to as assisted medications. Generally, these medications include autoinjected epinephrine (EpiPen), beta 2 agonists by metered-dose inhaler, and nitroglycerine.

authorized medication

au·thor·ized med·i·ca·tion

/ˈôTHəˌrīzd ˌmedəˈkāSHən/

Noun

Authorized medications are those that EMTs are allowed to give within their scope of practice.

biotransformation

bi·o·trans·for·ma·tion

/ˌbīōˌtransfərˈmāSHən/

Noun

The act of changing the chemical form of medications or toxins

chemical name

chem i cal name

/ˈkemikəl nām/

Noun

The chemical name of a medication is the description of its chemical structure. For example, the chemical name for adrenalin is (-)-3,4-dihydroxy-a - [(methylamino)methyl] benzylalcohol.

contraindication

con·tra·in·di·ca·tion

/ˈkän-trə indiˈkāSHən/

Noun

A contraindication of a medication is a condition in which it could be harmful and should not be given to a patient. For example, an oral liquid drug should not be administered to a patient who is unconscious or unable to swallow.

dosage

dos·age

/ˈdōsij/

Noun

Although the terms dose and dosage are often used interchangeably, the dosage is the schedule by which doses of medication are administered. The dosage for digoxin (Lanoxin) prescribed to a patient may be two 125 mcg tablets once a day.

dose

dose

/dōs/

Noun

The dose is the amount of medication given to the patient, often calculated based on the patient's weight or age (not to be confused with "dosage").

enteral

en te ral

/ˈentərəl/

Adjective

A type of medication that is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, such as pills and oral liquids.

generic name

ge·ne·ric name

/jəˈnerik nām/

Noun

The generic name of a medication refers to its chemical composition rather than the trade or brand name under which it is marketed.

indication

in·di·ca·tion

/ˌindiˈkāSHən/

Noun

An indication of a medication is a reason for giving it to a patient and its intended therapeutic effect. In the case of epinephrine, one indication is to temporarily reverse the airway constriction associated with anaphylaxis.

interaction

in·ter·ac·tion

/ˌin(t)ərˈakSH(ə)n/

Noun

How medications interact with other medications. This can affect the potency, clinical effectiveness, and metabolism of medication given during emergency care

medication

me·di·ca·tion

/ˌmedəˈkāSHən/

Noun

Any substance that has a physiological effect on the body

nitroglycerin

ni·tro·glyc·er·in

/ˌnītrōˈɡlisərən/

Noun

A medication that decreases the heart’s workload by dilating the arteries, including the coronary arteries, bringing more blood to the heart muscle

over-the-counter medication

o·ver the coun·ter me·di·ca·tion

/ˈōvər T͟Hē ˈkountər/ medəˈkāSHən/

Noun

Medication that is sold in supermarkets and retail drug stores without a prescription

overdose

o·ver·dose

/ˈōvərˌdōs/

Noun

The term used to describe the accidental or intentional use of a drug or medication in a manner that is unintended or in an amount that is not recommended.

parenteral

pa·ren·te·ral

/pəˈrentərəl/

Adjective

A medications that is absorbed by a route other than the gastrointestinal tract, such as by injection or inhalation.

pharmacodynamics

phar·ma·co·dy·na·mics

/ˌfärməkōdīˈnamiks/

Noun

The study of how a medication acts on the body, including the magnitude and duration of the response

pharmacokinetics

phar·ma·co·ki·ne·tics

/ˌfärməkōkiˈnetiks/

Noun

The process by which a medication is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated from the body

pharmacology

phar·ma·col·o·gy

/ˌfärməˈkäləjē/

Noun

The study of medications, including their preparation, uses, and activity on the body

potentiation

po·ten·ti·a·tion

/pəˌten(t)SHēˈāSH(ə)n/

Noun

When the interaction of one medication or drug increases the potency of another medication or drug

prescription medication

pre·scrip·tion me·di·ca·tion

/priˈskripSHən medəˈkāSHən/

Noun

This type of medication requires a physician's order and is dispensed by pharmacists.

protocol

pro·to·col

/ˈprōtəˌkäl/

Noun

A clinical protocol is a written document describing the steps in the care of patients in an emergency, such as cardiopulmonary arrest. For example, a patient in respiratory distress can be given oxygen without contacting medical control.

side effect

side ef·fect

/sīd iˈfekt/

Noun

The side effect of a medication is any action other than the intended therapeutic result. Not all side effects are harmful.

standing order

stand·ing or·der

/ˈstandiNG ˈôrdər/

Noun

A standing order is a written instruction that describes the care of patients in specific situations, including the dosage and route of administration of medications given during care. For example, your agency may have standing orders for treating an anaphylactic reaction in an emergency with epinephrine.

trade name

trade name

/trād nām/

Noun

The brand name of a drug that is given to a medication by its manufacturer,