Glossary of Pharmaceutical Terms

Following term definitions are provided by DrugDig to make your research effort easier. It is time consuming to learn about every medical term. The definitions are specifically summarized in one paragraph to streamline the comprehension period and let you focus on more important information.

pharmacist in front of medicine boxes

Brand Variations

A patent is issued to a pharmaceutical firm when it first creates a drug; this permits them to be the only company that makes and distributes the medicine under one brand name (the 'originator' brand). Other firms can produce their own version of the drug when the patent expires (typically after a few years), but under a different brand name than the original. Generic brands are commonly used to refer to the later versions. Our brand variations tab can provide you with the names of these generic brands.


In medicine, the term "systemic" refers to anything that affects the entire body, or at least many organ systems. In contrast to topical or local, it is global. Systemic administration is a method of administering medication that affects the entire body.


The dosage is the amount of medication consumed at any given moment. This can be represented in terms of drug weight (e.g. 250 mg), drug solution volume (e.g. 10 mL, 2 drops), number of dose forms (e.g. 1 capsule, 1 suppository), or any other metric (e.g. 2 puffs).

Side Effect

A side effect is commonly defined as an unfavorable secondary impact that happens in addition to the drugs or medications intended therapeutic benefit. The severity of side effects varies based on the person's ailment, age, weight, gender, ethnicity, and overall health.


You run the danger of a drug interaction if you take several medications or mix them with specific foods, beverages, or over-the-counter medications. Although the majority of drug interactions are minor, it is vital to be aware of the potential consequences before taking your drugs.

Theraptic Class

Therapeutic classes are a means of categorizing medicinal medications based on their intended use. Each therapeutic class is a collection of related drugs that are grouped together to address the same medical issues. Doctors and pharmacists use these classifications to help them choose the best treatment for their patients.


The indication describes the ailment that the medicine can treat and, in certain cases, the age range that the medication is intended for. Tylenol, for example, has two main uses: one as a pain reliever, and the other as a fever reducer. Tylenol can be used to relieve pain, fever, or both. Furthermore, the indication might be more precise depending on the kind of Tylenol used. Children's Tylenol, for example, is used for pain relief and fever lowering in children.


A contraindication is a medical phrase that refers to a circumstance or element that makes a surgery or course of treatment inadvisable due to the risk of damage to a person. A severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction to a medicine, for example, may be a contraindication to getting that treatment again. Pregnancy is also frequently stated as a contraindication to receiving certain drugs or treatments due to the risk of damage to an unborn baby.


A precaution is a deliberate measure taken ahead of time. If you're going on a desert trek, you should carry plenty of water and sunscreen. Preventive medications, such as those used before a surgery to avoid bleeding, can also be considered precautions.

Mode of Action

A mode of action is a functional or anatomical change that occurs at the cellular level as a result of a live organism being exposed to a chemical. A mode of action is significant in identifying chemicals because it reflects a degree of complexity in between molecular mechanisms and physiological effects, particularly when the specific molecular target has not yet been revealed or is a point of contention.