A-Z Classification
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    Ear, Eyes & Nose Vasoconstrictors
    Ears, Eyes and Nose Vasoconstrictors reduce symptoms such as swelling, heat, redness, and pain due to Allergies or Infections of the ears, eyes and nose.

    Mucous membranes line the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. They act as the first line of defence by repelling foreign substances.

    When mucous membranes become irritated or inflamed by allergies or infections (like the common cold), chemicals are released in the body. In an attempt to rid the membranes of the foreign substances, blood vessels dilate, blood supply increases, and vessels leak fluid. This can result in swelling, redness, heat, pain, itching or watering of the affected area.

    Ears, Eyes, and Nose Vasoconstrictors are applied topically for a direct effect on the inflamed area. They reduce symptoms such as swelling, heat, redness, or pain by constricting the mucous membrane blood vessels. This prevents fluid leaks from the vessels and decreases the chemical inflammatory response.

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    Electrolytes and Replacements
    Acidifying or Alkalinizing Agents are used when fluid and electrolyte (chemical) imbalances occur due to vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive sweating or urination, fast breathing, kidney or other diseases, or as a side effect of specific medications.
    Water makes up a large amount of the normal body weight. Intracellular (inside cells) and extra cellular (outside of cells) compartments both contain water and specified dissolved particles, called electrolytes. Electrolytes, especially hydrogen, are responsible for the acidity and alkalinity of the body. Typically, intracellular fluids contain potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg++), and phosphate (PO4--) electrolytes. The extra cellular fluid contains sodium (Na+), calcium (Ca++), chloride (Cl-), and bicarbonate(HCO3-) electrolytes. The body has many mechanisms (the kidneys, for one) to keep electrolytes and water in a delicate balance to maintain health.

    Kidney and other diseases, or medications, such as diuretics, can cause electrolyte or water changes between compartments. Fluids and electrolytes also can be lost from the intestine due to vomiting or diarrhoea, from the skin due to excessive sweating, from the kidneys due to excessive urination, or from the respiratory tract due to fast breathing. This is known as Fluid or Electrolyte Imbalance. Occasionally, the body retains calcium (Ca++) which can form Kidney Stones resulting in pain, inflammation, or obstruction.

    Acidifying Agents or Alkalinizing Agents can be given to restore electrolyte imbalances. Alkalinizing Agents, such as Citrolith or Urocit-
    K, convert to bicarbonate to restore an electrolyte balance from acidic to neutral. Acidifying Agents, such as K-Phos, make the environment more acidic to maintain electrolyte balances in the blood and kidneys. Other Replacement Preparations, such as Calcium or Potassium Supplements, are given to replace specific electrolytes lost. Electrolyte Solution is used for general electrolytes and fluid replacement. Other medications, such as Thiola, prevent calcium accumulation and kidney stone formation.

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    Gastrointestinal Enzyme and Acid Agents
    Gastrointestinal Enzyme and Acid Agents help treat conditions such as Gallstones, Pancreatitis, and Cystic Fibrosis. The Acid Agents are used in the treatment of Indigestion, Heart Burn, Ulcers, and other stomach conditions.
    The Gastrointestinal tract, also known as the digestive tract, is a long hollow tube where food passes to be broken into nutrients for absorption and use by the body. The stomach is a temporary storage site for food. Gastrin, a stomach hormone, triggers the release of enzymes (pepsinogen), gastric juices (hydrochloric acid), and mucus for the mucosal barrier that protects the lining. The enzymes and gastric juices break down food in the stomach, then move it to the intestine for further breakdown, absorption, or elimination. The pancreas is a gland that produces and secretes enzymes into the intestine for food breakdown. The liver is the largest organ in the body and has a digestive function of producing bile. Bile, stored in the gallbladder, is secreted into the intestine for digestive assistance.

    The gastrointestinal tract lining may become irritated or inflamed due to increased acid production or inability of the mucosal lining to resist destruction, causing ulcers. Crohn´s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are systemic diseases often characterized by inflamed intestines.

    Ulcers typically cause discomfort and can be treated with medications altering the acid or protecting the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Antacids combine with the acidic juices and neutralize them to prevent mucosal lining erosion. Antiulcer Agents, such as Cimetidine or Ranitidine, block the secretion of acid to prevent irritation and ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract. Some medications, such as Carafate, react with gastric acid to form a protective paste that coats the irritated gastrointestinal area, protecting it from acid. Anti-inflammatory Agents, such as Asacol, inhibit chemicals responsible for inflammation of the intestine.

    Occasionally, not enough enzymes are available in the gastrointestinal tract for digestion and absorption of food. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (mainly the pancreas) include Pancreatits and Cystic Fibrosis. The disease prevents normal digestion by blocking digestive enzyme release. Bile, stored in the gallbladder, may harden, forming gallstones that can block bile secretion completely, resulting in jaundice and malabsorption.

    Digestants, such as Creon or Pancrease, are pancreatic enzyme replacements used to re-establish normal digestion in gastrointestinal disorders. They are needed for carbohydrate, protein, and fat digestion and absorption. Cholelitholytic Agents, such as Actigall, dissolve gallstones to prevent bile blockage and allow normal digestion.

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    Gastrointestinal Muscle Movement Agents
    Gastrointestinal Muscle Movement Agents alter the natural muscle movements and are used to treat diarrhoea, constipation, or vomiting.
    The Gastrointestinal tract, also known as the digestive tract, is a long hollow tube where food passes to be broken down into nutrients for absorption and use by the body. Food is propelled down this tract by smooth muscle contractions, called peristalsis, that are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Juices and enzymes are secreted to break down the food into smaller particles for use. Food not used is easily and routinely eliminated from the body as waste in the form of faeces.

    With a disruption of the normal muscle contractions of the stomach or intestines, diarrhoea or constipation occurs. Constipation occurs when peristalsis is slowed and faeces become hard, infrequent, and difficult to pass. Diarrhoea occurs with excessive peristalsis, increasing the fluidity and frequency of faeces passing. Sometimes diarrhoea is a protective mechanism to rid it of harmful foreign substances.

    Laxatives prevent or treat constipation by increasing peristalsis, or by increasing bulk or fluid content of the faeces. This makes it softer and easier to pass through the intestine. In contrast, Antidiarrheal Agents, such as Opium, relieve diarrhoea by blocking transmission of nerve signals to the muscles, slowing movement (peristalsis). Other agents, like Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol, either bind with diarrhoea to help bacteria pass or reabsorb fluid into the intestine to prevent diarrhoea.

    Vomiting is a protective reflexive action to rid the stomach of harmful substances. Nausea, an unpleasant sensation, typically occurs before vomiting and is a warning signal. If vomiting is not controlled, large amounts of fluids and chemicals may be lost from the body, causing dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Vomiting may occur due to stomach lining irritation and brain vomiting centre stimulation. During vomiting, the brain triggers stomach muscles to contract so that particles are expelled.

    Emetics, such as Ipecac, irritate the stomach lining, stimulate the brain's vomiting centre, and induce vomiting to treat drug overdose or poison ingestion. Anti-emetics inhibit the pathway between the stomach and the brain's vomiting centre to relieve nausea and vomiting.

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    Genitourinary Muscle Relaxants
    Genitourinary Muscle Relaxants are used to relax the bladder when bladder spasms, pain, urgency, frequency, or incontinence are a problem.
    The urinary system produces urine by filtering water and waste products from the blood. Urine is stored in the bladder, a smooth muscular triangular-shaped structure. The sphincter muscle typically allows the bladder to expand and fill until nerves are stimulated that allow conscious relaxation so urine can flow out through the urethra.

    Infection or other factors can cause bladder and sphincter muscles to malfunction, resulting in lack of urinary control. Urinary Incontinence
    is involuntary passage of urine with the loss of control of bladder storage. Urgency (the sudden need to urinate), can be caused by increased sensitivity of the bladder muscle. Frequency is caused by over stimulation of nerves that produce the urge to void. Bladder Spasms, characterized by quivering and pain, are caused by abnormal tension of muscles. Urinary retention (infrequent urination) is often due to surgery or infection.

    Genitourinary Smooth Muscle Relaxants, like Ditropan or Urispas, can relax the bladder and sphincter smooth muscles to prevent spasms, pain, urgency, and frequency. They interrupt the nerve impulses (from the brain) that are signalling the bladder muscle to contract.

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    Glaucoma Agents
    Glaucoma Agents act in various ways to decrease the pressure in the eye and are used to treat Glaucoma.
    Light images enter the eye through the cornea, then pass through the pupil (controlled by the iris muscle) to the lens. The lens transmits a focused image to the retina. The optic nerve receives signals from the retina and forwards them to the brain for interpretation. Aqueous and vitreous humor fluids protect and nourish the eye and form its shape. Aqueous humor, a clear fluid produced with assistance of carbonic anhydrase enzyme and secreted by the ciliary body, fills the space between the cornea and lens. It flows through a passageway between the lens and iris, then through the pupil where it is reabsorbed in the iris angle region. Typically the production of aqueous humor and the outflow are equal to maintain a constant normal pressure.

    If more aqueous humor fluid is secreted than reabsorbed, or if fluid is not allowed to flow out to be reabsorbed, pressure within the eye builds up and may result in loss of vision. This condition is known as Glaucoma. With high pressure in the eye, the blood vessels supplying the optic nerve become compressed causing blurred vision, headache, eye pain, and eventually loss of vision. Glaucoma can be caused by a congenital deformity, injury or haemorrhage in the eye, infection, or a tumour that obstructs the flow or fluid.

    Miotics, Mydriatics, Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors, or Beta Blockers can decrease the intraocular pressure to treat Glaucoma and prevent deterioration of vision. Miotics contract eye muscles which, in turn, constrict the pupils. This results in blood vessel dilatation and increased fluid out flow. Mydriatics relax eye muscles causing pupillary dilatation so more aqueous humor can flow out of the eye. Mydriatics may also diminish the formation of aqueous humor to decrease eye pressure. Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors diminish carbonic anhydrase enzyme responsible for production of aqueous humor in the ciliary body resulting in less fluid production and diminished eye pressure. Topical Beta Blockers, such as Timoptic, inhibit cells that secrete aqueous humor to decrease pressure. These medications may also be used to alter pupillary size before eye examinations.

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    Hormones - Adrenal Agents are frequently referred to as Corticosteroids. Some of these drugs (glucocotricoids) reduce inflammation symptoms of swelling, heat, redness, or pain. Others (mineralocorticoids) treat Addison's Disease by replacing insufficient chemicals.
    The adrenal glands are located just above each kidney. They produce and store mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid hormones. The mineralocorticoids, like Aldosterone, maintain water and electrolyte balance. The glucocorticoids, like cortisol, maintain blood sugar and decrease inflammation. The production and release of these hormones are controlled by a natural feedback mechanism.

    When the natural control mechanism for adrenal corticosteroid hormones fails, disease occurs. Addison´s Disease occurs when the adrenal glands do not secrete enough mineralocorticoids. Insufficient amounts of glucocorticoid can lead to uncontrolled inflammation.

    Synthetic medications can be given to replace natural adrenal corticosteroid hormones. Florinef influences sodium and water balance by mimicking natural mineralocorticoid. It replaces aldosterone and is used in the treatment of Addison´s Disease. Synthetic Corticosteroids resemble glucocorticoids and can reduce the amount of swelling, heat, and redness by blocking the chemicals responsible for inflammation.

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    Hormones - Diabetic Agents are used to treat Diabetes Mellitus by replacing either Insulin or Glucose (sugar) for energy.       
    The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that secretes digestive fluids and produces the hormones of insulin and glucagon. Glucagon and insulin counteract each other to regulate blood sugar in the body. Glucagon naturally increases blood sugar, known as glucose, in the blood while Insulin transports glucose from the blood into the cells to be used as energy.

    Diabetes Mellitus is an abnormal break down of nutrients due to decreased insulin production by the pancreas or decreased effectiveness of the insulin produced by the pancreas. It occurs when insufficient levels of effective insulin fail to transform glucose into energy. Instead, glucose (or sugar) in the blood is excreted in urine causing symptoms of frequent urination, thirst, increased appetite, fatigue, and weight loss.

    Insulin and Sulfonylurea Agents, such as Glyburide or Orinase, treat Diabetes Mellitus by mimicking normal body insulin or stimulating inactive insulin secretion by the pancreas. This allows normal uptake and use of glucose for energy. Glucagon imitates normal hormonal glucagon secretions to quickly increase levels of glucose in the blood. Glucagon and Insulin or Sulfonylurea Agents counteract each other like natural hormonal glucagon and insulin do to keep a blood sugar balance.

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    Hormones - Pituitary Agents are used for people with Diabetes Insipidus, Pituitary Dwarfism, or Pituitary Tumours. They replace natural pituitary hormones needed for growth and body water conservation.  
    The pituitary gland, located near the hypothalamus, stores and secretes numerous hormones. Pituitary hormones regulate growth, water balance, and stimulates secretion of hormones by other endocrine glands. Growth Hormones are produced during childhood for growth of bones, muscles, and organs. Antidiuretic hormones (ADH) are secreted to conserve water in the kidneys by preventing excretion. Pituitary hormone levels are regulated by the body's natural feedback system.

    Pituitary tumours and other diseases may cause hyposecretion of growth hormone causing Pituitary Dwarfism or hyposecretion of Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) resulting in excessive urine excretion called diabetes insipidus.

    Nutropin and Protropin function like natural growth hormone by stimulating growth in the child. This results in an increased number of different cells in the body. Desmopressin is a medication that mimics natural Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) to conserve water in the kidneys by increasing reabsorption of water from the collecting tubules of the kidneys.

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    Hormones - Reproductive Agents can replace or balance the body's natural hormones and are used in the treatment of Delayed Puberty, Infertility, Menstrual Irregularities, or Pregnancy Prevention.
    The female ovaries in the pelvic cavity and the male testes in the scrotum typically produce sex hormones at puberty and after, resulting in secondary sexual characteristic development and reproductive abilities. Female sexual characteristics include breast development, pubic and axillary hair growth, and widening of the pelvis. Female Estrogen and Progesterone act together to cause cyclic changes of the uterine lining in menstrual periods and preparation of the uterus for pregnancy. Menopause occurs in females due to decreased production of oestrogen and progesterone. Male sexual characteristics include deepening voice, genital enlargement, and pubic and axillary hair growth. Testosterone and other Androgens (male hormones), produce an anabolic effect resulting in matured muscles and bones.

    Delayed puberty or infertility can occur due to inadequate production and release of oestrogen, progesterone, or testosterone sex hormones. Certain cancerous tumours, especially of the testes, ovaries, or breasts, may occur in response to hypersecretion of sex hormones. Menstrual Irregularities can occur due to imbalance of oestrogen or progesterone hormone secretion causing irregular or absent menstrual cycles, or excessive menstrual bleeding.

    Synthetic hormones, such as Oral Contraceptives, Androgens, Gonadotropins, Estrogens, or Progestin's can be given to replace inadequate natural hormone production. This promotes the development and functioning of sexual characteristics to regulate the menstrual cycle, and prevent pregnancy. Occasionally, Synthetic hormones are given to counteract hormone sensitive tumour growth.

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    Hormones - Thyroid Agents can either replace natural thyroid hormone, which is necessary in the treatment of Cretinism or Myxedema, or can inhibit production of thyroid hormone to treat symptoms associated with Graves' Disease.
    The thyroid gland in the neck has two large lateral lobes that store and secrete thyroid-secreting hormones. These thyroid-secreting hormones regulate general cell growth and development and produce heat and energy. Iodine combined with chemicals forms thyroid-secreting hormones that are released into the blood stream to match the body's need for them.

    The thyroid may become under active or overactive, causing general health problems. Hyperthyroidism, or Graves' Disease, is an overactive secretion of thyroid hormone. Graves' Disease may be identified by a goitre (lump), bulging eyes, weight loss, or nervousness. Cretinism and Myxedema are results of hypothyroidism and are characterized by dry skin and hair, fatigue, or generalized swelling.

    Antithyroid Drugs, such as Propylthiouracil, are used to decrease symptoms associated with Graves´ Disease. They inhibit the production or secretion of thyroid hormones by inhibiting iodine's effectiveness. Synthetic Thyroid Replacements, such as Synthroid or Thyroid, are used as synthetic substitutes for natural thyroid hormone in treating Cretinism and Myxedema.

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    Liver Agents
    (Ammonia Detoxicant) Liver Agents are used to treat Liver Failure symptoms by eliminating poisonous ammonia in the body.  
    The liver is the largest gland in the body. It aids digestion by breaking down nutrients, specifically amino acids, resulting in ammonia as a waste product. Ammonia is released into the blood by the liver, where it is converted to urea and excreted by the intestine or kidney. The liver is also responsible for many other body functions such as production of blood proteins or detoxifying drugs and chemicals.

    Hepatic Encephalopathy and Liver Failure are the result of a diseased or injured liver. The malfunctioning liver allows ammonia to accumulate at levels that can poison the liver, blood, and eventually the brain, causing confusion, coma, or death.

    Ammonia Detoxicants, such as Lactulose, are used to treat liver disease. They alter the environment of the bowel, binding with the high levels of ammonia in the intestine. This causes diarrhoea that quickly excretes the ammonia and prevents reabsorption by the blood. Ammonia Detoxicants also promote the transference of ammonia from the blood to the intestine for excretion.


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    Drug Classification
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