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Medical Terms and
used in Pharmacy

In your preparation for the ExCPT or PTCB exam, you'll want to know some medical terms definitions. Once you're working in the field regularly, it will become second nature. And, especially knowing some pharmacy terms and definitions will give you an edge when taking the PTCE or ICPT exam. While preparing for the real test, look up any words you don't know and get familiar with them. If you still have question, please post them on the Pharmacy Tech Forum here on the site.

A  -  C  |  D  -  I  |  J  -  P  |  Q  -  Z


Quart - Fluid measurement which really just means a quarter of a gallon.  1 Quart = 1/4 Gallon 


Ratio - Math term used to show the relative difference between two quantities.

Reconstitute - Refers to when drugs in powder form need to be mixed with a fluid before they are administered.

Red Book - Pharmaceutical reference tool used to determine Average Wholesale Price (AWP), suggested retail price and other standardized drug pricing data mainly for 3rd party insurance billing purposes.

Route of Administration - The prescribed path a drug is to be taken into the body.

Rx - An internationally recognized symbol or abbreviation for "Prescription".


Scored Tablet - Drug tablets which are indented during manufacturing, to make easier to break into half or quarters.

Sedative - Refers to drugs that work on the central nervous system to help calm anxiety, stress, etc..

Sig Code - Medical abbreviations and acronyms used in healthcare to communicate directions.

Solute -In a Solution, the Solute is the substance dissolved into the solvent.

Solvent - In a Solution, the Solvent is the

Subcutaneous - Refers to an IV injection placed into the skin's subcutaneous layer (3rd down).

Sublingual - (Under your tongue) Refers to placing a tablet under your tongue to dissolve.

Suppository - A drug dosage form that is to be inserted into a body cavity, where it will dissolve and be absorbed.

Suspension - A liquid solution containing tiny undissolved drug particles 'suspended' in it.

Symptom - Refers to a sign or characteristic that may serve as a clue to determine an illness or disease.

Syrup - A liquid preparation typically containing a high concentration of a sugar (or sugar substitute), a flavoring agent, and active drug ingredients.


Tincture - Refers to a drug dissolved in an alcohol solution to make an oral preparation.

TPN Solution - Total Parenteral Nutrition provides nourishment to patients intravenously when their digestive tract needs to be bypassed.

Transdermal - When a drug is administered through the skin, usually with a patch or ointment.

Trituration - When a solid substance is ground into fine particles for compounding purposes.


Vaporizer - A medical device used for converting a medicated liquid into vapor for inhalation.

Vasodilator - Refers to drugs that widen blood vessels, allowing for blood to flow more freely through arteries. And, that lowers blood pressure and allows your heart to not work so hard.

Vial - A small glass or plastic container with a closure used to contain and store chemicals.

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