Drug Glossary and Definition

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Pharmacist's Guide

Table of Contents

Drug Glossary - C

Calcium Channel Blockers A group of drugs used to treat angina and heartbeat irregularities. These drugs include bepridil, diltiazem, felodipine, flunarizine, isradipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nimodipine, verapamil.
Calcium Supplements Supplements used to increase the calcium concentration in the blood in an attempt to make bones denser (as in osteoporosis). These supplements include calcium citrate, calcium glubionate, calcium gluconate, calcium glycerophosphate and calcium lactate, calcium lactate, dibasic calcium phosphate, tribasic calcium phosphate.
Carbamates A group of drugs derived from carbamic acid and used for anxiety or as sedatives. They include meprobamate and ethinamate.
Carbetapentane An antitussive (cough suppressing) drug similar to dextromethorphan in action. It is an ingredient in some cough and cold remedies.
Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors Drugs used to treat glaucoma and seizures and to prevent high altitude sickness. They include acetazolamide, brinzolamide, dichlorphenamide, dorzolamide, methazolamide.
Cataract Loss of transparency in the lens of the eye.
Catecholamines A group of drugs, also found naturally in the body, used to treat low blood pressure or shock. These drugs include dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Cationic Drugs Drugs removed from the body by the kidneys (called renal tubular secretion). If two of these drugs are taken together, one of them may stay in the body longer and increase its effect. These drugs include digoxin, metformin, morphine, pancuronium, tenofovir, trospium, vancomycin.
Cell Unit of protoplasm, the essential living matter of all plants and animals.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants These drugs cause sedation or otherwise diminish brain activity and other parts of the nervous system. These drugs include alcohol, aminoglutethimide, anesthetics (general and injection-local), anticonvulsants, antidepressants (MAO inhibitors, tricyclic), antidyskinetics (except amantadine), antihistamines, apomorphine, azelastine, baclofen, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, brimonidine, buclizine, carbamazepine, cetirizine, chlophedianol, chloral hydrate, chlorzoxazone, clonidine, clozapine, cyclizine, cytarabine, difenoxin and atropine, diphenoxylate and atropine, disulfiram, donepezil, dronabinol, droperidol, ethchlorvynol, ethinamate, etomidate, fenfluramine, flibanserin, fluoxetine, glutethimide, guanabenz, guanfacine, haloperidol, hydroxyzine, ifosfamide, interferon, loxapine, magnesium sulfate (injection), maprotiline, meclizine, meprobamate, methyldopa, methyprylon, metoclopramide, metyrosine, mirtazapine, mitotane, molindone, nabilone, nefazodone, olanzapine, opioid (narcotic) analgesics, oxcarbazepine, oxybutynin, paliperidone, paraldehyde, paregoric, pargyline, paroxetine, phenothiazines, pimozide, procarbazine, promethazine, propiomazine, propofol, quetiapine, rauwolfia alkaloids, risperidone, scopolamine, sertraline, skeletal muscle relaxants (centrally acting), tapentadol, thalidomide, thioxanthenes, tramadol, trazodone, trimeprazine, trimethobenzamide, zaleplon, zolpidem, zonisamide, zopiclone.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants Drugs that cause excitation, anxiety and nervousness or otherwise stimulate the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. These drugs include amantadine, amphetamines, anesthetics (local), appetite suppressants (except fenfluramine), bronchodilators (xanthine-derivative), bupropion, caffeine, chlophedianol, cocaine, dextroamphetamine, diclofenac, doxapram, dronabinol, dyphylline, entacapone, ephedrine (oral), fluoroquinolones, fluoxetine, meropenem, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, moclobemide, modafinil, nabilone, pemoline, rasagiline, selegiline, sertraline, sympathomimetics, topiramate, tranylcypromine, zonisamide.
Cephalosporins Antibiotics that kill many bacterial germs that penicillin and sulfa drugs can’t destroy.
Cholinergics (Parasympathomimetics) Chemicals that facilitate passage of nerve impulses through the parasympathetic nervous system.
Cholinesterase Inhibitors Drugs that prevent the action of cholinesterase (an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine in the body).
Chronic Long-term, continuing. Chronic illnesses may not be curable, but they can often be prevented from becoming worse. Symptoms usually can be alleviated or controlled.
Cirrhosis Disease that scars and destroys liver tissue resulting in abnormal function.
Citrates Medicines taken orally to make urine more acid. Citrates include potassium citrate, potassium citrate and citric acid, potassium citrate and sodium citrate, sodium citrate and acid, tricitrates.
Coal Tar Preparations Creams, ointments and lotions used on the skin for various skin ailments.
Cobicistat A drug that in itself does not treat any disorder. It is combined with certain other drugs and acts as a boosting agent to raise the level of the combined drug(s) in the body.
Colitis, Ulcerative Chronic, recurring ulcers of the colon for unknown reasons.
Collagen Support tissue of skin, tendon, bone, cartilage and connective tissue.
Colostomy Surgical opening from the colon, the large intestine, to the outside of the body.
Coma A sleeplike state from which a person cannot be aroused.
Compliance The extent to which a person follows medical advice.
Congestive Characterized by excess accumulation of fluid. In congestive heart failure, congestion occurs in the lungs, liver, kidneys and other parts of the body to cause shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles and feet, rapid heartbeat and other symptoms.
Constriction Tightness or pressure.
Contraceptives, Hormonal Any form of contraception (birth control) that contains hormones (such as ethinyl estradiol and others). These forms include oral, injectable, transdermal and implantable.
Contraceptives, Oral (Birth Control Pills) A group of hormones used to prevent ovulation, therefore preventing pregnancy. These hormones include drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, ethynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol, ethynodiol diacetate and mestranol, etonogestrel, levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol, medroxyprogesterone, norethindrone tablets, norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol, norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol, norethindrone and mestranol, norethynodrel and mestranol, norgestrel, norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol.
Contraceptives, Vaginal Topical medications or devices applied inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy.
Convulsions Violent, uncontrollable contractions of the voluntary muscles.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Lung conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Corticosteroids (Adrenocorticosteroids) Steroid hormones produced by the body’s adrenal cortex or their synthetic equivalents. Cortisone (Adrenocorticoids, Glucocorticoids) and Other Adrenal
Steroids Medicines that mimic the action of the steroid hormone cortisone, manufactured in the cortex of the adrenal gland. These drugs decrease the effects of inflammation within the body. They are available for injection, oral use, topical use for the skin, eyes and nose and inhalation for the bronchial tubes. These drugs include alclometasone; amcinonide; beclomethasone; benzyl benzoate; betamethasone; bismuth; ciclesonide; clobetasol; clobetasone 17- butyrate; clocortolone; cortisone; desonide; desoximetasone; desoxycorticosterone; dexamethasone; diflorasone; diflucortolone; fludrocortisone; flumethasone; flunisolide; fluocinonide; fluocinonide, procinonide and ciprocinonide; fluorometholone; fluprednisolone, flurandrenolide; halcinonide; hydrocortisone; medrysone; methylprednisolone; mometasone; paramethasone; Peruvian balsam; prednisolone; prednisone; triamcinolone; zinc oxide.
Cycloplegics Eye drops that prevent the pupils from accommodating to varying degrees of light.
Cystitis Inflammation of the urinary bladder.
cachexia severe malnutrition and body wasting caused by chronic disease
caliper mechanical device used to measure percentage of body fat by skinfold measurement
calorie also known as kcal or kilocalorie; represents the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius (C)calorie requirements numbers of calories required daily to meet energy needs
capillaries tiny blood vessels connecting veins and arteries
carbohydrate the nutrient providing the major source of energy in the average diet
carboxypeptidase pancreatic enzyme necessary for protein digestion
carcinogens cancer-causing substances
cardiac sphincter the muscle at the base of the esophagus that prevents gastric reflux from moving into the esophagus
cardiomyopathy damage to the heart muscle caused by infection, alcohol, or drug abuse
cardiovascular pertaining to the heart and entire circulatory system
cardiovascular disease (CVD) disease affecting heart and blood vessels
carotenoids plant pigments, some of which yield vitamin A
carriers those who are capable of transmitting an infectious organism
catabolism the breakdown of compounds during metabolism
catalyst a substance that causes another substance to react
cellular edema swelling of body cells caused by inadequate amount of sodium in extracellular fluid
cellulose indigestible carbohydrate; provides fiber in the diet
cerebrovascular accident (CVA) either a blockage or bursting of blood vessel leading to the brain
chemical digestion chemical changes in foods during digestion caused by hydrolysis
chemotherapy treatment of diseased tissue with chemicals
cholecystectomy removal of the gallbladder
cholecystitis inflammation of the gallbladder
cholecystokinin (CKK) the hormone that triggers the gallbladder to release bile
cholelithiasis gallstones
cholesterol fatlike substance that is a constituent of body cells; is synthesized in the liver; also found in animal foods
chronic kidney disease slow development of kidney failure
chylomicrons the largest lipoprotein; transport lipids after digestion into the body
chyme the food mass as it has been mixed with gastric juices
chymotrypsin pancreatic enzyme necessary for the digestion of proteins
circulation the body process whereby the blood is moved throughout the body
cirrhosis generic term for liver disease characterized by cell loss
clinical examination physical observation
coagulation thickening
cobalamin organic compound known as vitamin B12
coenzyme an active part of an enzyme
collagen protein substance that holds body cells together
colon the large intestine
colostomy opening from colon to abdomen surface
coma state of unconsciousness
compensated heart disease heart disease in which the heart is able to maintain circulation to all body parts
complementary proteins incomplete proteins that when combined provide all nine essential amino acids
complete proteins proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids
congestive heart failure (CHF) a form of decompensated heart disease
coronary artery disease severe narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart
crash diets fad-type diets intended to reduce weight very quickly; in fact they reduce water, not fat tissue
creatinine an end (waste) product of protein metabolism
Crohn’s disease a chronic progressive disorder that causes inflammation, ulcers, and thickening of intestinal walls, sometimes causing obstruction
cumulative effects results of something done repeatedly over many years
cystine a nonessential amino acid
cysts growths

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