35 Essential Pharmacology Terminology
Dosage form (presentation of the drug): It means the size, shape, and external appearance in which a drug is available to the patient.
Example: tablet, capsule, syrup, drop, vial, ampoule, ointment, etc.
OD: Once daily
BID: twice daily
TID: Three times daily
QID: Four times daily
Tablet coating: It is the technique used in tablet making for the following purposes.
1. To improve the taste of a drug ( sugar or film-coated ).
2. To protect a drug from deterioration ( film-coated ).
3. To protect a drug from destruction by HCI in the stomach (enteric-coated).
Enteric-coated preparations are absorbed from the upper part of the small intestine.
Liquid preparation usually meant for children.
Suspension: Contain finely divided insoluble materials (drugs). Before taking a suspension, the bottle should be shaken for uniform distribution of the medication.
Syrup: Clear solution containing a drug. They do not require shaking before use.
Expectoration: It is the process of expelling mucus from the respiratory tract.
Suppository: It is a semisolid preparation for introduction into the rectum. Available in cylindrical or cone shape.
Semisolid preparation, containing a drug, applied on the skin:
Cream: Non-oil base. They are preferred in wet skin diseases.
Ointment: Oil base, preferred in skin diseases that are dry and scaly.
Sustained Release (SR) preparation /Time
Release/Delayed release: Any preparation that is capable of releasing a drug continuously at a predetermined rate for a predetermined period.
The shelf life of drug: The length of time a product may be stored without becoming unsuitable for use or consumption.
Therapy: means treatment-
Adjunct therapy: Any treatment given in addition to the primary treatment.
Sequential therapy: Any treatment that follows stepwise.
Titrating Dose: Gradual increase of a dose
Tapering dose: Gradual reduction of treatment. For example, if a patient takes 10mg of a drug on the first day, 5 mg on 2nd day, and 2.5 mg on 3rd day, it is a tapering dose.
Therapeutic dose: Dose required to the desired effect.
Curative dose: Dose required to cure a disease.
Toxic dose: Dose that can cause signs and symptoms of drug toxicity.
Maintenance dose: A dose given to patients to keep them free from symptoms so that they may lead a healthy life. Example: Diabetes, Arthritis, PUD
Bolus dose: This means a large dose.
OTC: Over The Counter. Any drug which does not require a prescription for dispensing. Paracetamol is an
Brand Name: The name given by the company.
Generic name: Scientifically approved name.
Composition / Strength: Composition cop tells us how much of a drug (active ingredient) is present in each tablet, capsule, or 5 ml of syrup.
Indication: A condition (usually a disease or symptoms) for which a drug is given.
Contraindication: The condition where a drug should not be used.
Side effect: Any physiological change other than the desired one resulting from drug administration.
Example: drugs that are given in allergy may cause sleepiness. Here sleepiness is a side effect.
Precaution: It is a measure that tells us about situations where the drug should be used with caution, such as impaired renal function, impaired hepatic function, etc.
Placebo: It is a look-alike, taste-alike, no action tablet. Such tablets are used to compare the efficacy of drugs in
Trial: Scientific method of investigation used to evaluate the effectiveness and suitability of drugs on patients.
Hypersensitivity: An allergic reaction of the body to a drug; may present as skin rash, vomiting, severe diarrhea.
Tolerance: If a drug is taken repeatedly, its action may become less and less with time.
This is known as tolerance.
Idiosyncratic: This is an unusual individual response to a drug.
Idiopathic: Any disease for which no cause can be identified.
Iatrogenic: Any condition caused by treatment or doctor.
Pharmacopoeia: These are official publications. Any drug that meets the specifications given in these books is recognized by the health authorities all over the world, to be of the highest quality.
Example: BP: British Pharmacopoeia, USP: United States Pharmacopoeia