As a pharmacy technician, you'll be working in a healthcare field setting. So, knowing medical terms and definitions (AKA: the 'Lingo') will make life much easier at work. More importantly, knowing pharmaceutical terms and their explanations will give you an advantage while taking the ExCPT or PTCB exam™, and even during an interview or employer qualifications testing. While you're using the site or taking free practice exams, if you see a word you don't know, look it up here.
Absorption Rate - The amount of time it takes after a drug is administered for it to enter the bloodstream.
Acute - Usually refers to a condition that has a fast onset time, severe effect, and short course of duration.
Admixture - Two or more drugs blended or mixed together to create a desired substance or solution.
Adverse Reaction - When the body has an undesired or negative response to a medication or drug-drug interaction.
Agonist - A drug that triggers a receptor to produce a physiologic response. An easy way to remember the difference is: Agonists try to make things happen, Antagonists try to stop things from happening.
Allegation - An unofficial Math maneuver that can be used to determine ratios for compounding.
Allergic Reaction - A response from
the immune system to a substance which a patient has an allergy to.
Allergy - When the body is highly sensitive to (an otherwise harmless) substance.
Amphetamine - Central nervous system stimulant prescribed for the treatment of : ADHD, Narcolepsy, Obesity and other conditions. Also known as "Speed", Amphetamines are highly addictive and DEA controlled.
Ampule - A (small) sealed glass vial that is to be 'broken' open and normally contains injection solution.
Analgesic - Often referred to as "pain relievers", Analgesics are drug used to reduce or suppress pain. (ex. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Oxycodone, etc.)
Anaphylactic Shock - The body's reaction to Anaphylaxis caused by your immune system.
Anaphylaxis - An extreme reaction to something you're severely
allergic to, such as a peanuts, shell-fish or a bee sting which requires emergency medical attention and may be life threatening.
Anestetic - Drugs that create an insensitivity to pain by blocking nerve transmission to the brain.
Antagonist - Drugs designed to block a receptor-mediated effect created by neurotransmitters. An easy way to remember the difference is: Agonists try to make things happen, Antagonists try to stop things from happening.
Anticoagulant - A drug that is used to decrease or prevent the formation of blood clots
Anticonvulsant - These are drugs used to help prevent seizures or to lessen the severity of a seizure.
Antiemetic - Drugs used to prevent, alleviate or suppress nausea and vomiting.
Antihistamine -Drugs used to counteract the immune systems histamine reaction to allergy or respiratory illness.
Antineoplastic - Drugs prescribed to slow the growth of malignant tumors.
Antipyretic - Drugs used to prevent or reduce fever (abnormally high body temperature).
Antispasmotic - Drugs used to relieve or prevent muscle spasms.
Antitussive - Drugs used to suppress or relieve coughing.
Apothecary - Another word for pharmacist. However, it also refers to a system of weights and measures.
Aqueous -Refers to when something is, or to be water based.
AsepticTechnique- A sanitation practice performed with a goal of minimizing
contamination by pathogens.
Auxiliary Label - Additional labels placed on prescription packaging that provide supplementary information, various warnings, routes of administrations, etc.
AWP (Average Wholesale Price) - Found in the Redbook, the AWP of a drug is the average price at which drugs are purchased at the wholesale level. It is mainly used to determine third-party reimbursement.
Bactericidal - Drugs that destroy / kill bacteria.
Bacteriostatic - Drugs that slow down or inhibit the duplication (growth) of bacteria.
Bio-Availability - The rate which a drug is made available to the target site of physiological
Bio-Equivalence - When a drug has the same biological effect / efficacy / bioavailability as a a similar drug with a different formulation.
Bronchodilator - A drug that widens passages in the lungs to ease breathing.
Buccal - Tablet held between the cheek and gum which dissolves, thereby permitting quicker absorption
CC - Abbreviation for cubic centimeter = Same as 1mL (Milliliter)
Celsius - It's basically the same as Centigrade. (see next term below)
Centigrade - Standard measure of temperature in Science / Metric system. Water freezes at 0 and boils at 100.
Closed Formulary - A program where drugs not listed in the Formulary require prior authorization or may not be covered whatsoever by the insurer.
Coinsurance - A cost-sharing method where a patient pays only a percentage for medication after their deductible is met, and their insurer pays the rest.
Chronic -Refers to an illness that persists for a long period of time or frequent re-occurence.
Communicable -Refers to illness / disease that is contagious or transmittable to others.
Compound - A final substance (or solution) made from two or more substances.
Compounding - The creation of a particular drug mixture to fit the unique need of a patient.
Controlled Release (CR) -Refers to drugs formulations designed to release gradually over a specific time.
Controlled Substance - In the U.S., it refers to drugs that are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Co-Pay - A set dollar amount a patient must pay for a prescription out-of-pocket when it's dispensed.