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A-Z Classification
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    Antihistamines
    Antihistamines are used to provide relief from symptoms associated with allergies, such as hives, watery eyes, runny nose, or sneezing. They also can be used to treat anxiety, tension, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, or sleeplessness.

    The inflammatory response is one way the body protects itself from injury. Chemicals, including histamine, are released when tissues are injured. Histamine is stored in mast cells of tissues and in basophiles circulating in the blood.

    Once released, histamine migrates to receptor sites in the skin, nose, eyes, and to smooth muscles of the blood vessel walls and the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. In an attempt to rid the body of injury or foreign particles, blood vessels dilate, blood flow increases, and fluid leaks out of vessels. Muscles of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts also contract and glands release secretions. This chemical response results in swelling, redness, heat, and pain at the site of injury.

    Most of the time, histamine is protective, but hypersensitive reactions, known as allergies, can occur. Histamine receptor sites over activated in the skin result in hives or rash. When allergic rhinitis and hay fever occurs, the eyes, nose, and upper respiratory tract overreact to inhalants (such as pollen or ragweed) by releasing histamine, causing itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or coughing. Histamine released in the gastrointestinal tract triggers stomach or intestinal smooth muscle contractions, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, or cramping.

    Mast Cell Stabilizers, like Crolom, coat the mast cell, preventing histamine from being released into the blood stream. ANTIHISTAMINES compete with histamine to inhibit chemical reactions by lining these receptor sites with antihistamines instead of histamine. This prevents swelling, redness, heat, and pain at the site of injury. Using ANTIHISTAMINES may prevent allergy symptoms.

    Some ANTIHISTAMINES can treat sleeplessness, anxiety, tension, nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness. These ANTIHISTAMINES affect the brain, causing sedation and suppressing the vomiting centre. ANTIHISTAMINES are more effective if administered before histamine is released. They are contained in many medications and are frequently used in conjunction with other medications, such as decongestants.

     


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    Anti-Infective/Antifungal
    The Anti-Infective Agents known as Antifungal Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat fungal infections such as Athlete's Foot, Ring Worm, Thrush, Jock Itch, and Vaginitis.
    Fungi, such as yeast or moulds, are plant-like organisms that exist in the air, food, and water to which we are exposed daily. Some live harmlessly on the skin or in the bowel. The body's defence systems typically eliminate abnormally high concentrations of fungi invading unacceptable areas.

    When normal body defence systems cannot contain the fungi, overgrowth occurs, causing Infection (often called Candida or Yeast Infections). The overgrowth most frequently occurs in (but is not limited to) dark, damp places like the vagina, groin, scalp, feet, or mouth. This causes Athlete's Foot, Ring Worm, Thrush, Jock Itch, Vaginitis, or other serious systemic organ infections.

    ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS, such as Antifungal Antibiotics, can be administered topically or internally to eliminate fungi. Antifungal Antibiotics either alter the environment so it is unfavourable for fungi, or alter the fungi's chemical composition, causing death. The normal body defence system eliminates the infection by transporting the dead fungi as waste products.

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    Anti-Infective/Antiprotozoal
    The Anti-Infectives known as Antiprotozoal Agents are used to treat infections such as Dysentery, Malaria, or other infestations caused by lice, mites, worms, or other protozoal parasites.
    Parasites
    are organisms that invade and obtain food from another. Their various forms include protozoa, helminths (worms), or insects and can live internally or externally off the body. The body responds by trying to destroy the parasites and preserve the normal tissue invaded.

    Parasites not eliminated by the body's defence system can damage the normal body cells and tissues. This results in infestation by worms, plasmodium, mites, or lice, and causes Dysentery, Malaria, Scabies, or Pediculosis. When parasites continue to infest the body, illness symptoms are difficult to control without medication.

    ANTHELMINTICS destroy Dysentery-causing worms by interfering with their digestive process or by paralyzing them. Anti malarial Agents kill Malaria-causing Plasmodium by altering the inner cell activity and preventing reproduction of the parasite. Scabicides and Pediculicides eliminate mites and lice. The medication poisons their nervous system, causing death.

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    Anti-Infective/Antiviral
    The Anti-Infective Agents known as Antivirals are used to prevent or treat the common cold, cold sores, flu, chicken pox, AIDS, and other viral infections.
    Viruses
    are very small particles dependent on other cells to replicate and live. By entering and living in normal cells, viruses alter normal functions. The body responds by trying to destroy the viruses or the cells they occupy.

    Viruses that are not quickly eliminated by the body's defence system can damage normal cells. This can result in infectious disease, producing symptoms such as fever, fatigue, body aches, or generalized ill feeling. Viruses radically multiply before illness symptoms appear, and so are difficult to successfully eliminate. Viruses cause the common cold, cold sores, flu, chicken pox, or AIDS.

    ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS, such as Antivirals, alter normal cells' inner activity so viruses cannot attack them for multiplication. Antivirals are most effective given before the virus enters the body or before symptoms occur.

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    Anti-Infective/Bactericidal
    The Anti-Infective Antibiotic Agents are used to kill infection-causing bacteria.
    Bacteria are single cell forms of life that are much smaller than human cells. Bacteria live everywhere in a variety of conditions, exist in a variety of shapes, and affect individuals in many ways. Not all bacteria are harmful, but many do create pathogenic or toxic effects. Normally, once the bacteria have entered the body, it releases toxins to invade and destroy other cells. The normal body response is to destroy and eliminate the bacteria. Factors influencing whether or not this occurs include the individual, environment, and the bacteria.

    When normal body defence systems can't eliminate the bacteria, it multiplies and continues releasing toxins, damaging normal body cells. This can result in Infectious disease, producing infection symptoms such as fever, fatigue, body aches, generalized ill feeling or localized pus at an injury site.

    ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS, specifically Antibiotics, are chemicals that can attack, destroy, or suppress bacterial growth. Some Antibiotics (such as Penicillin's, Cephalosporin's, Amino glycosides, or Quinolones) function as bactericidal agents and kill bacterial cells by weakening the cell wall, allowing contents to leak out. The normal body defence system then transports the dead bacteria as waste products and the infection is eliminated.

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    Anti-Infective/Bacteriostatic
    The Anti-Infective Antibiotic Agents are used to kill infection-causing bacteria. Bacteria are single cell forms of life that are much smaller than human cells. Bacteria live everywhere in a variety of conditions, exist in a variety of shapes, and affect individuals in many ways. Not all bacteria are harmful, but many do create pathogenic or toxic effects. Normally, once the bacteria have entered the body, it releases toxins to invade and destroy other cells. The normal body response is to destroy and eliminate the bacteria. Factors influencing whether or not this occurs include the individual, environment, and the bacteria.

    When normal body defence systems can not eliminate bacteria, it multiplies and continues releasing toxins, damaging normal body cells. This can result in infectious disease, producing infection symptoms such as fever, fatigue, body aches, generalized ill feeling or localized pus at an injury site.

    ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS, specifically Antibiotics, can attack, destroy, or suppress bacterial growth. Some Antibiotics (such as Macrolides, Tetracycline's, or Sulphonamides) function as Bacteriostatic agents and alter chemical activity inside the cell resulting in bacterial cell death. The normal body defence system then transports the dead bacteria as waste products and infection is eliminate

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    Anti-Inflammatory Agents
    Anti-Inflammatory Agents, either Steroids or Nonsteroidal Agents, are applied directly to an inflamed area to decrease heat, swelling, redness, pain, or other symptoms.
    The skin is the largest organ of the body and its layers act as a barrier against foreign substances. Mucous membranes line body cavities that open to the exterior and serve a similar protective function in repelling foreign substances. The eyes, ears, nose, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts are lined with this protective mucous membrane. Combined, the skin and mucous membranes act as the first line of defence against foreign substances.

    With a break in the protective covering of the skin or mucous membranes, foreign substances can enter the body. The second line of defence against foreign substances is the inflammatory process. When tissues are injured, chemicals are released by white blood cells,
    causing such reactions as dilatation of blood vessels, an increase in blood supply, and fluid leaks from vessels. This response is an attempt to rid the area of foreign substances and can result in swelling, redness, heat, and pain. After the foreign substances have been eliminated, the body releases hormones (called corticosteroids) to reduce these symptoms and allow the area to heal.

    If the body's normal release of corticosteroids is not sufficient to suppress the inflammatory symptoms, the symptoms continue or worsen. Often this inflammation is caused by an allergic reaction to the foreign substances. Allergies can affect skin and mucous membrane linings and result in runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy ears, or skin rashes. Dermatitis is non-infectious inflammation of the skin in response to an irritant or foreign substance represented by rashes or hives. Likewise, Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory response of the intestine, and Haemorrhoids are an inflammatory response of the veins in the rectum or anus.

    Adrenocorticoids, often called steroids, are similar to the normal body corticosteroids and can be used to reduce inflammation. Adrenocorticoids inhibit the white blood cells and their inflammatory chemical response so blood vessels return to normal and healing begins. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents, such as Voltaren or Acular, also can be effective in reducing symptoms of inflammation by inhibiting the chemical reactions produced by white blood cells at the site. They have less side effects than steroid Anti-inflammatory Agents. Anti-inflammatory Agents for the skin, mucous membranes, ears, eyes, or nose are applied directly to the area for localized reduction of swelling, heat, redness, or pain.

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    Arthritis and Joint Drugs
    Joint Drugs are used to treat symptoms associated with joint pain or swelling resulting from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, or other inflammatory diseases.       A joint is the area between two or more bones that allows body movement. Synovial joints, like the knee, shoulder, or elbow, are free-moving joints. The bones meeting to form these joints have articular cartilage covering their ends and are separated by lubricating synovial fluid produced by the synovial membrane.

    Occasionally, the synovial membrane becomes inflamed, resulting in swelling and increased synovial fluid accumulation. Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when immune complexes lodge in the synovial fluid, causing inflammation that results in heat, redness, swelling, and pain of joints. Gout occurs when uric acid accumulates due to lack of kidney excretion and is deposited as crystals in the synovial fluid. This results in joint inflammation and, if left untreated, leads to cartilage and bone destruction.

    Uricosuric Agents, Gold Compounds, or Heavy Metal Antagonists are used to treat arthritic joint inflammation. These medications prevent immune complexes or uric acid from accumulating in the synovial fluid by increasing their rate of excretion through the kidney resulting in reduced incidence of swelling, redness, heat, or pain.

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    Blood Coagulants and Anticoagulants
    Blood Coagulants are used to treat excessive bleeding, called haemorrhage. To prevent instances where blood clots have the potential to contribute to heart attack or stroke, Anticoagulants and Hemorrheologic Agents are used.
    Blood coagulation is a protective mechanism consisting of a specific sequence of chemical reactions that produce clots to stop bleeding. When an injury occurs, blood vessels constrict to decrease the amount of flow to the area. Platelets come to the area and stick together to seal off the bleeding site. Eventually, chemicals react in the blood to form clots that plug up the damaged vessels. Typically, there is a delicate balance in the body between clot formation and dissolution.

    Abnormal development of clots (called thrombi) can obstruct blood flow in vessels and damage tissues or organs. If the clot inhibits blood flow, or if chemicals responsible for the dissolution of clots are deficient, tissues are left without oxygen and quickly die. These clots can cause Heart Attacks, Strokes, and other diseases.

    Anticoagulants and Hemorrheologic Agents interfere with the chemical reactions needed for blood thickening and clot development. These medications allow continuous blood circulation, preventing occlusion and obstruction of blood flow by clots. By using Anticoagulants and Hemorrheologic Agents, the body's natural balance between clot formation and dissolution is disrupted.

    Occasionally, a clot is not developed and a large amount of blood loss, called haemorrhage, occurs and results in oxygen depletion throughout the tissues. The blood that does not clot appropriately does not escape faster than blood that clots, but it leaks for a longer time without stopping. Chemical reactions for blood clotting may only partially occur and typically, the clot is not effectively formed.

    Haemostatic Agents, mainly Amicar, prevent clots from dissolving or limit agents that can dissolve them, resulting in a stable clot that halts bleeding.

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    Blood Formation and Function
    Blood Formation and Function Drugs help with the formation of blood or replace blood components, such as iron, that are lacking. They are used in the treatment of Anaemia.
    Blood is comprised of fluid (called plasma), red blood cells, and other formed elements. Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow to replace those that are destroyed or die. Haemoglobin in red blood cells contains iron, which binds to the oxygen that is transported to tissues by the red blood cells. The hormone erythropoietin influences the rate of production of the red blood cells, while the amount of oxygen in the blood stream influences erythropoietin and blood cell production.

    Anaemia occurs when the amount of iron-rich red blood cells carrying oxygen to tissues is inadequate. Anaemia may be a result of haemorrhage, illness, or nutritional deficiencies.

    Haematopoietic Agents treat anaemia by stimulating production of red blood cells. Iron Preparations allow more oxygen to be transported to tissues by binding to haemoglobin present in red blood cells. To increase absorption of Iron Preparations, they can be combined with other agents, like Vitamin C. To counteract side effects such as constipation, Iron Preparations can be combined with stool softeners.

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    Blood Pressure and Vessel Agents
    Blood Pressure and Vessel Agents are used to treat high blood pressure, called Hypertension. They can be further grouped into Hypotensive Agents or Vasodilating Agents acting directly on the blood vessel or altering the amount of blood flowing through the vessel.
    Pumped by the heart, blood flows through vessels, transporting oxygen and nutrients to various cells and organs. Blood pressure is produced by the amount of blood pumped out of the heart and the resistance met in the blood vessels. The body maintains blood pressure by changing the vessel diameter or the amount of blood pumped out of the heart.

    The Sympathetic Nervous System secretes chemicals, mainly norepinephrine, that constrict blood vessels and increase the heart rate and pumping force, causing a quick elevation of blood pressure. When this occurs, a balancing mechanism is activated to inhibit norepinephrine, thus stabilizing blood pressure.

    When this complex nervous system control fails, blood vessels remain constricted (called vasoconstriction) and blood flow to vital organs is decreased. This vasoconstriction maintains increased blood pressure, called Hypertension.

    Hypotensives can improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and prevent damage to the blood vessels, kidneys, brain, or other organs. Central Nervous System Acting Drugs, Sympatholytic Drugs, and Beta Blockers alter the release of chemicals (norepinephrine) or limit responses of the heart or blood vessels to the chemicals. By minimizing norepinephrine, blood vessels relax and blood pressure decreases.

    The kidneys regulate blood pressure by increasing or decreasing blood volume in the body. They respond to chemical signals by conserving or excreting water to change this blood volume. If blood volume is low, chemicals are released by the kidneys and create reactions that produce powerful vasoconstriction and water retention. This increases blood vessel resistance and blood volume.

    The kidneys have a balancing system in place. If it malfunctions, blood volume and blood vessel resistance increases. The end result is increased blood pressure, called Hypertension.

    Hypotensives and Vasodilators can improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and prevent damage to the blood vessels, kidneys, or brain. ACE (Angiotension Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors prevent the development of Angiotension II chemicals that constrict blood vessels. By restricting these chemicals, blood vessels can relax, blood can flow more freely, and blood pressure decreases. Diuretics
    also can be used in combination with Hypotensives and Vasodilators to decrease blood pressure by excreting water through the kidneys.

    To regulate blood pressure, the body naturally balances the amount of contraction and relaxation of blood vessels. When Calcium enters muscle cells through the calcium channels, muscles contract and the diameter of blood vessels decreases. The body stops the calcium movement to allow vessel dilatation.

    If the natural balancing of blood vessel diameter fails, vasoconstriction occurs, causing a smaller diameter for blood to flow through. This vasoconstriction results in increased blood pressure, called Hypertension.

    Hypotensives and Vasodilators can treat Hypertension. Nitrates, Calcium Channel Blockers, and Vasodilators act directly on smooth muscle cells of blood vessels to increase their diameter or dilate them. Specifically, Calcium Channel Blockers and Vasodilators allow blood vessel dilatation by altering calcium movement in and out of muscle cells. Hypotensives and Vasodilators relax the muscle cells, resulting in blood vessel dilatation followed by decreased blood pressure.

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    Cancer Drugs
    Antineoplastic Agents, frequently referred to as Chemotherapy, are used to treat Cancer by destroying the cancer cells.
    The cells in the body systematically grow, mature, and die. The body normally removes dead or unhealthy cells and replaces them with new healthy cells.

    Sometimes cells do not behave in an organized manner but replicate very rapidly. These mutant cells grow excessively and clump together to form a tumour. If the abnormal cells spread to other areas in the body, they are referred to as cancerous or malignant cells, and cannot usually perform normal function. If left untreated, these cells get out of control and take over normal cells and body functioning.

    ANTINEOPLASTIC AGENTS, known as chemotherapy, are used to prevent cell growth or replication and destroy cancer cells. These agents interfere with the metabolism or the structure of the cell, preventing reproduction and causing cell death. Certain hormones are used to oppose hormonally induced cell growth to halt and kill cancer cells. Due to different mechanisms of action, numerous drugs may be given at one time for treatment of cancer.

     


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    Cardiac Muscle Drugs
    Cardiac Muscle Drugs are used to strengthen and regulate the heart's pumping action to prevent or treat Angina, Myocardial Infarction, Heart Beat Irregularities, or Heart Failure.
    This amazing pump keeps blood and life-giving nutrients circulating non-stop--beat after beat, day after day, year after year. One part of the heart pumps blood to the lungs where it takes on oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. The other takes this refreshed blood and distributes it throughout the body, invigorating muscles and bones, as well as the body's organs -- like the brain, kidneys, liver, and the heart.

    One of the most important organs nurtured by this oxygenated blood is the heart itself. The aorta serves as the main outbound blood vessel for carrying this oxygenated blood. Branching from the aorta, the coronary arteries spread out over the surface of the heart and carry the refreshed blood to this tireless muscle.

    When coronary arteries, or any of the arteries branching from them, become partially or completely blocked, there is an interruption of the blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause pain, called Angina, that is typically felt as a pressure, or squeezing, in the chest and may radiate down the left arm. If the blockage is severe enough, the portion of cardiac muscle that is oxygen-deprived will die. This is known as a Myocardial Infarction, or heart attack."

    Many medications may be used to prevent Angina or Myocardial Infarction. Calcium Channel Blockers inhibit the flow of calcium in the walls of the coronary arteries, allowing them to relax and dilate. This allows more blood to be delivered to the heart muscle. Beta Blockers reduce the Autonomic Nervous System release of chemicals (called catecholamine), decreasing the heart rate and force of contraction. This decreases the heart's need for oxygen.

    There are four chambers in the heart, connected by one-way valves that usher the blood in and out of this busy transit station. Blood returning from its journey around the body is oxygen-depleted and enters the right atrium where it is pumped into the right ventricle. The stronger right ventricle ejects the blood toward the lungs to become revived. Once it has been refreshed with oxygen in the lungs, the blood enters the left atrium, then the left ventricle in the same fashion. This left ventricle acts as the workhorse of the heart as it propels the oxygen-rich blood out of the heart to all parts of the body.

    If the muscle of the heart is damaged enough to decrease its pumping ability (or contractility), a traffic jam occurs, backing up the normal flow of blood. This is known as Heart Failure. When the right side of the heart doesn't contract properly, excess fluid accumulation (called peripheral oedema) can result in swelling of the lower legs. When the left side of the heart fails to keep up with the pumping demands, blood backs up and the lungs become congested.

    Medication is frequently used to restore the heart's proper functions. Cardiac Glycosides, such as Digoxin, decrease the heart rate, allowing more time for the ventricles to fill up with blood, particularly blood that has been backed up in the lungs or lower legs. Cardiac
    Glycosides also allow the heart to contract more strongly and force more blood to circulate. ACE Inhibitors prevent the development of Angiotension II chemicals that constrict vessels. By restricting these chemicals, the vessels relax, blood can flow more freely, and less blood becomes backed up in the system. ACE Inhibitors also strengthen the heart muscle, forcing blood to circulate throughout the rest of the body.

    The electrical conduction system keeps all this movement of blood on schedule by affecting the rate and quality of the heart beat. At the core of the rhythm section is a wiring system, complete with its own timer called the sinoatrial node. Known as the pacemaker of the heart, it originates in the right atrium. This node causes both atria to contract, pushing their blood down into each ventricle. That same impulse triggers another node (called the atrioventricular node) that is located between the atria and the ventricles. It starts a new wave of impulses to travel down bundle branches and out into the Purkinje fibres in the ventricles, forcing them to contract and eject blood.

    Dysrhythmias are abnormal conductions that result from a diseased or damaged heart. Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter are disruptions of Atrial conductions that cause rapid, ineffective Atrial pumping.

    Ventricular dysrhythmias are more dangerous. Ventricular Tachycardia is the rapid, independent, ineffective beating of the ventricles. This can deteriorate into the chaotic and weak conduction of Ventricular Fibrillation where the heart has no effective pumping. Death results if Ventricular Fibrillation is not corrected.

    Heart Blocks are the inhibition of impulses that are normally conducted from the atria to the ventricles. They occur in different degrees of severity. Simple blocks (first degree blocks) delay each impulse from the atria to the ventricles. Severe blocks (third degree blocks) completely prevent the Atrial impulses from getting through to the ventricles.

    Many different drugs are used to prevent dysrhythmias and typically work to either affect the triggering ability or affect the flow of the electrical impulse for regular heart beat and rhythm. Calcium Channel Blockers and Lidocaine decrease the electrical triggering by blocking calcium activity and decreasing the cell's responsiveness or excitability. On the other hand, Beta Blockers and Cardiac Glycosides decrease the flow of the electrical impulse so the muscle fibres are at rest for a longer time. This allows the heart to beat regularly and more strongly. In some instances, when both the triggering ability and flow of the electrical impulses need to be affected, Procainamides are used to prevent dysrhythmias.

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    Cardiac/Lipid/Blood Vessel Drugs
    Cardiac Lipid and Blood Vessel Drugs prevent fatty substances (plaques) from clogging the blood vessels to treat Atherosclerosis.
    Pumped by the heart, blood flows through the large arterial blood vessels to transport oxygen and nutrients to various organs. These arterial blood vessels have very thick walls and must expand and recoil quickly to move this oxygenated blood to the vital organs.

    After delivering the oxygen and nutrients to the organs, through the arteries, the blood returns to the heart in the venous blood vessels. Veins have thinner walls and do not expand and recoil as rapidly as arteries. They have less diameter to transport the unoxygenated blood through the body to the heart for reoxygenation.

    Blood vessels can become irregularly clogged or narrowed by fatty substances, such as cholesterol or triglycerides, that attach to the inner walls. These fatty substances can accumulate in the vessel walls and harden. The hardened substances (called plaques) decrease the diameter of the vessel. When the inner layers of the blood vessels become coated with plaques, supporting cells and muscle cells of the vessel wall die and are replaced by hardened scar tissue. This condition of the blood vessels is known as Atherosclerosis. The scar tissue restricts the blood flow through the affected vessels. Because of the restricted amount of oxygenated blood and nutrients being delivered, many organs, such as the brain, heart, and kidneys can be affected. This can result in coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, renal failure, stroke, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, and other diseases.

    Life style modifications, dietary restrictions, and medications may be used to prevent new fatty deposits and halt the progression of Atherosclerosis. These medications are classified as Antilipemic Agents, reducing the levels of fat in the blood by acting on the enzymes
    in the liver or acting on the bile salts of the intestine. This, in turn, alters the formation of cholesterol within the liver and fatty substances are not released into the bloodstream or deposited in vessel walls. Additionally, by preventing the absorption of bile salts that carry large amounts of cholesterol in the intestine, the fatty substances are excreted and not allowed to connect to the blood vessel walls. Simply put, Antilipemic Agents prevent fatty substances from attaching to the blood vessel walls and allow blood to flow freely.

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    Dental Agents
    Dental Agents are used to prevent or treat symptoms of swelling, heat, redness, or tenderness in the mouth (commonly referred to as Gingivitis).
    Gingiva, more commonly referred to as gums, are fibrous tissues covered by pink mucous membranes in the mouth. Their purpose is to cover the roots of the teeth and to act as a protective barrier against foreign substances, such as bacteria, that are normally found in the mouth.

    If an injury or opening occurs in the gingiva, inflammation begins. When the tissues are injured, chemicals are released, causing blood vessel dilatation, increased blood supply, and leaking of fluid out of the vessels. This response is an attempt to rid the area of foreign substances and results in swelling, redness, heat, and pain. The body normally reacts by releasing hormones, called corticosteroids, to limit these symptoms and to allow the area to heal.

    Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva around the teeth commonly caused by plaque. Plaque is a combination of food, bacteria, and saliva forming at the base of the teeth due to improper or inadequate dental hygiene. The body reacts to plaque as a foreign substance and triggers an inflammatory response producing swelling, redness, heat, and pain of the gingiva.

    Medications can be used to prevent or treat Gingivitis. Adrenocorticoids, such as Orabase or Kenalog, similar to the normal body corticosteroids, can reduce inflammation. Adrenocorticoids inhibit the inflammatory chemical response so that the blood vessels return to normal and do not leak fluid. The Adrenocorticoids reduce swelling, heat, redness, or pain, but do not treat the cause of Gingivitis. With a break in the protective covering, bacteria enter into the gingival tissues and can act as foreign substances causing inflammation and eventually infection. Peridex or Periogard kill and eliminate bacteria from the mouth to prevent Gingivitis.

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    Diuretics
    Diuretics are prescribed to treat conditions that cause swelling, also called oedema, because they can increase urine output.
    The kidneys are bean shaped organs smaller than the size of a person's fist. They regulate body water and substances needed to maintain normal composition of the body. They filter out water, substances, and waste from the blood, regulate blood pressure, maintain blood circulation, and stimulate production of red blood cells.

    Kidneys contain millions of nephrons that act as the functional unit of the organ and contain a filtration component (glomerulus) and a tubular component (Proximal, Loop of Henle, Distal, & Collecting tubules) that reabsorbs water and other substances and transforms filtered fluid into urine.

    Fluid retention, called Oedema, can result from organ disease or failure, or hormones. This may result in high blood pressure, swelling (especially of the legs and feet), and accumulation of substances and waste products.

    Drugs prescribed to increase urine output are called Diuretics. Some Diuretics prevent the reabsorption of sodium, chloride, and potassium in the tubular component of the nephron and result in substances and water excreted in urine. If high levels of potassium are being lost through the urine, Potassium-Sparing Diuretics may be used for water and substance excretion but reserve the potassium to maintain normal body composition of substances.


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    Allergy sufferers are often prescribed a host of different medications without the benefit of a proper explanation.
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    Drug Classification
     
    An A - Z of drugs and what they are used for