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Glossary of Terms

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The process by which a drug is transferred from the site of administration into the body’s blood, lymph, or tissue.

Adverse reaction

A result of drug therapy that is neither intended nor expected in normal therapeutic use and for which may cause significant, sometimes, life-threatening conditions.


A medicine given to relieve or reduce pain without resulting in loss of consciousness.


A matter (or piece of information) that should be weighed or taken into account when formulating an opinion or plan.


Any symptom or circumstance indicating the inappropriate use of a form of treatment that may otherwise have been advisable.


The transport of a drug across cell membranes which results in the accumulation of the drug in certain tissues.


The loss of the drug from the site within the body. Some drugs will be metabolized when passing through the liver or other tissue will be metabolized. Other drugs may be eliminated directly when passing through the kidneys or other tissues of excretion.


The removal of drug molecules, intact, changed, or inactivated from the body (e.g. kidneys).

First-pass effect / First-pass metabolism

The process whereby drugs administered orally are absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and carried through the hepatic portal vein to the liver, where some portion of the drug is metabolized (degraded, altered, inactivated or removing some of the drug) before it reaches the general circulation thus reducing some of its effect. With some drugs this can be avoided if the drug is designed to be given by IV, SQ, or IM administration.


Drugs delivered by breathing in with use of a machine or device. In general the drugs are rapidly absorbed.

Intramuscular (IM)

Administration of a medication, into deep muscle, given by needle.


Lethal dose.


Dose of drug that will kill 50% of the group being tested.


The activity required in the body to process the drug (i.e., metabolism can decrease, increase, or have no effect on the activity of drugs).

Oral (PO)

Drugs that are given by mouth that are able to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach. Absorption can be affected by gastric emptying and intestinal motility.

Pearls of Wisdom (“pearls”)

A succinct or insightful saying. A piece of advice or moral precept.


The study of drugs in all their aspects.


A discipline concerned with the art, science , or practice of preparing, compounding, and dispensing drugs. A place where drugs are sold (e.g. drugstore). Also called an Apothecary.


The concentration, or amount, needed of a specific drug to produce a defined effect.


Not yielding or not readily yielding to treatment.

Subcutaneous (SQ, SC, SubQ)

Non-irritating drug injected just beneath the skin. The drug then permeates the capillaries and enters the blood stream.


Local application of a drug used in dermatologic, ophthalmologic, and otic conditions.


A chemically active substance which produces blistering on direct contact with the skin or mucous membrane.

Posted on February 20, 2005, 18:18, Last updated on September 24, 2013, 06:42 | Reference

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