Drug Glossary and Definition

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Pharmacist's Guide

Table of Contents

Drug Glossary - B

Bacteria Microscopic organisms. Some bacteria contribute to health; others (germs) cause disease and infection.
Barbiturates Powerful drugs used for sedation, to help induce sleep and sometimes to prevent seizures. Except for use in seizures (phenobarbital), barbiturates are being used less and less because there are better, less hazardous drugs that produce the same or better effects. These drugs include amobarbital, aprobarbital, butabarbital, mephobarbital, metharbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, secobarbital, secobarbital and amobarbital, talbutal.
Basal Area of Brain Part of the brain that regulates muscle control and tone.
Benzethonium Chloride A compound used as a preservative in some drug preparations. It is also used in various concentrations for cleaning cooking and eating utensils and as a disinfectant.
Benzodiazepines A family of drugs prescribed to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal and sometimes prescribed for sedation. These drugs include alprazolam, bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide, clobazam, clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, estazolam, flurazepam, halazepam, ketazolam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, prazepam, quazepam, triazolam.
Beta Agonists A group of drugs that act directly on cells in the body (beta-adrenergic receptors) to relieve spasms of the bronchial tubes and other organs consisting of smooth muscles. These drugs include albuterol, bitolterol, indacaterol, isoetharine, isoproterenol, metaproterenol, terbutaline.
Beta-Adrenergic Blocking Agents A family of drugs with similar pharmacological actions with some variations. These drugs are prescribed for angina, heartbeat irregularities (arrhythmias), high blood pressure, hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, vascular headaches (as a preventative, not to treat once the pain begins) and others. Timolol is prescribed for treatment of open-angle glaucoma. These drugs include acebutolol, atenolol, betaxolol, bisoprolol, carteolol, labetalol, levobetaxolol, metoprolol, nadolol, oxprenolol, penbutolol, pindolol, propranolol, sotalol, timolol.
Bile Acids Components of bile that are derived from cholesterol and formed in the liver. Bile acids aid the digestion of fat.
Biologic Response Modifiers Substances that are produced naturally in the body or manufactured as drugs designed to strengthen, direct, or restore the body’s immune response. The drugs are used in treating disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and some infections. These drugs include abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, atumumab, canakinumab, certolizumab, etanercept, infliximab, golimumab, interferon, interleukin-2, natalizumab, rilonacept, rituximab, tocilizumab, tofacitinib, ustekinumab, various types of colony-stimulating factors.
Blood Count Laboratory studies to count white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and other elements of the blood.
Blood Dyscrasia-Causing Medicines Drugs which cause unpredictable damaging effects to human bone marrow. These effects occur in a small minority of patients and are not dependent upon dosage. These medicines include the following (some of which are not described in this book): ACE inhibitors, acetazolamide, aminopyrine, amodiaquine, anticonvulsants (dione, hydantoin, succinimide), antidepressants (tricyclic), antidiabetic agents (sulfonylurea), antiinflammatory analgesics, antithyroid agents, bexarotene, captopril, carbamazepine, cephalosporins, chloramphenicol, cisplatin, clopidogrel, clozapine, dapsone, divalproex, felbamate, flecainide acetate, foscarnet, gold compounds, levamisole, loxapine, maprotiline, methicillin, methimazole, methsuximide, metronidazole, mirtazapine, pantoprazole, penicillins (some), penicillamine, pentamidine, phenacemide, phenothiazines, phensuximide, phenytoin, pimozide, primaquine, primidone, propafenone, propylthiouracil, pyrimethamine (large doses), rabeprazole, rifampin, rifapentine, rituximab, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, sulfasalazine, sulfonamides, thioxanthenes, ticlopidine, tiopronin, topiramate, trastuzumab, trimethobenzamide, trimethoprim, valproic acid.
Blood Pressure, Diastolic Pressure (usually recorded in millimeters of mercury) in the large arteries of the body when the heart muscle is relaxed and filling for the next contraction.
Blood Pressure, Systolic Pressure (usually recorded in millimeters of mercury) in the large arteries of the body at the instant the heart muscle contracts.
Blood Sugar (Blood Glucose) Necessary element in the blood to sustain life.
Bone Marrow Depressants Medicines that affect the bone marrow to depress its normal function of forming blood cells. These medicines include the following (some of which are not described in this book): abacavir, alcohol, aldesleukin, altretamine, amphotericin B (systemic), anticancer drugs, antithyroid drugs, azathioprine, bexarotene, busulfan, capecitabine, carboplatin, carmustine, chlorambucil, chloramphenicol, chromic phosphate, cisplatin, cladribine, clozapine, colchicine, cyclophosphamide, cyproterone, cytarabine, dacarbazine, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, didanosine, docetaxel, doxorubicin, eflornithine, epirubicin, etoposide, floxuridine, flucytosine, fludarabine, fluorouracil, ganciclovir, gemcitabine, hydroxyurea, idarubicin, ifosfamide, imatinib, interferon, irinotecan, lomustine, mechlorethamine, melphalan, mercaptopurine, methotrexate, mitomycin, mitoxantrone, paclitaxel, pentostatin, plicamycin, procarbazine, sirolimus, streptozocin, sulfa drugs, temozolomide, teniposide, thioguanine, thiotepa, topotecan, trimetrexate, uracil mustard, valrubicin, vidarabine (large doses), vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine, vinorelbine, zidovudine, zoledronic acid.
Bone Marrow Depression Reduction of the blood-producing capacity of human bone marrow. Can be caused by many drugs taken for long periods of time in high doses.
Brain Depressants Any drug that depresses brain function, such as tranquilizers, narcotics, alcohol and barbiturates.
Brand Name Drug A brand name drug is a drug marketed under a proprietary, trademark-protected name.
Bronchodilators A group of drugs used to dilate the bronchial tubes to treat such problems as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, allergies and others. These drugs include albuterol, aminophylline, arformoterol, bitolterol, cromolyn, dyphylline, ephedrine, epinephrine, ethylnorepinephrine, fenoterol, formoterol, indacaterol, ipratropium, isoetharine, isoproterenol, levalbuterol metaproterenol, nedocromil, oxtriphylline, oxtriphylline and guaifenesin, pirbuterol, procaterol, salmeterol, terbutaline, theophylline and guaifenesin.
Bronchodilators, Xanthine-Derivative Drugs of similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity that are prescribed to dilate bronchial tubes in disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other chronic lung diseases. These drugs include aminophylline, dyphylline, oxtriphylline, theophylline.
BUN Abbreviation for blood urea nitrogen. A test often used as a measurement of kidney function.
balanced diet one that includes all the essential nutrients in appropriate amounts
basal metabolism rate (BMR) the rate at which energy is needed for body maintenance
beriberi deficiency disease caused by a lack of vitamin B 1 (thiamine)
bile secretion of the liver, stored in the gallbladder, essential for the digestion of fats
bioavailable ability of a nutrient to be readily absorbed and used by the body
biochemical tests involving biology and chemistry
biotin a B vitamin; necessary for metabolism
bolus food in the mouth that is ready to be swallowed
bomb calorimeter device used to scientifically determine the caloric value of foods
bonding emotional attachment
botulism deadliest of food poisonings; caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum
bran outer covering of grain kernels
buffer systems protective systems regulating amounts of hydrogen ions in body fluids
bulimia condition in which patient alternately binges and purges

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