The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the gabapentin, Neurontin, Gabarone article.
Analgesic: A drug that relieves pain.
Anorexia: An eating disorder characterized by markedly reduced appetite or total aversion to food. Anorexia is a serious psychological disorder. It is a condition that goes well beyond out-of-control dieting. The person with anorexia, most often a girl or young woman, initially begins dieting to lose weight. Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is thought to be secondary to concerns about control and fears relating to one's body. The individual continues the endless cycle of restrictive eating, often to a point close to starvation. This becomes an obsession and is similar to an addiction to a drug. Anorexia can be life-threatening. Also called anorexia nervosa.
Anticonvulsant: A medication used to control (prevent) seizures (convulsions) or stop an ongoing series of seizures. There are a large number of anticonvulsant drugs today including, but not limited to: phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine, ethosuximide (Zarontin), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and midazolam (Versed). Anticonvulsant drugs taken during pregnancy put the baby at risk of major birth defects -- growth retardation, microcephaly (a small head) and deformities of the face and fingers -- a condition known as anticonvulsant embryopathy.
Ataxia: Poor coordination and unsteadiness due to the brain's failure to regulate the body's posture and regulate the strength and direction of limb movements. Ataxia is usually due to disease in the cerebellum of the brain, which lies beneath the back part of the cerebrum.
Breast milk: Milk from the breast. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.
Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive substance formerly used as an anesthetic. Safer anesthetics than cocaine were developed in the 20th century, although it is still used as an injectable anesthetic by some dentists. Synthetic alternatives, such as procaine, are used far more widely. Tragically, cocaine is a highly addictive and destructive street drug.
Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage caused by diabetes that leads to numbness and sometimes pain and weakness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Diabetic neuropathy can affect the digestive tract, heart, and genitalia. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk of neuropathy. There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. Peripheral neuropathy, the most common, causes pain or loss of feeling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Autonomic neuropathy can cause changes in digestion, bowel and bladder control problems, and erectile dysfunction, and it can affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure. Proximal neuropathy produces pain in the thighs and hips and weakness in the legs. Focal neuropathy can strike any nerve in the body, causing pain or weakness. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy principally involves bringing the blood glucose and glycohemoglobin levels into the normal range. Good foot care is mandatory. Analgesics, low doses of antidepressants, and some anticonvulsant medications may be prescribed for relief of pain, burning, or tingling. Some patients may find that walking regularly, taking warm baths, and using elastic stockings help relieve leg pain due to diabetic neuropathy.
Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo.
Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a feeling of weariness and tiredness. Fatigue can be acute and come on suddenly or chronic and persist.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.
Fibromyalgia: A disease characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints, without detectable inflammation. Fibromyalgia does not cause body damage or deformity. However, undue fatigue plagues 90 percent of patients with fibromyalgia. Sleep disorder is also common in patients with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can be associated with other rheumatic conditions, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can occur with fibromyalgia. There is no definitive medical test for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, so diagnosis is made by eliminating other possible causes of the symptoms. The most effective treatment is a combination of education, stress reduction, exercise, and medication. Formerly known as fibrositis.
Generic: 1. The chemical name of a drug. 2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug may be sold. 3.A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.
Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesviruses, especially herpes simplex types 1 and 2.
Herpes zoster: Also called shingles, zona, and zoster. The culprit is the varicella-zoster virus. Primary infection with this virus causes chickenpox (varicella). At this time the virus infects nerves (namely, the dorsal root ganglia) where it remains latent (lies low) for years. It can then be reactivated to cause shingles with blisters over the distribution of the affected nerve accompanied by often intense pain and itching.
Hiccups: A hiccup is an extraordinary type of respiratory movement involving a sudden inspiration (intake of air) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the glottis (the vocal apparatus of the larynx).
Hot flashes: A sudden wave of mild or intense body heat caused by rushes of hormonal changes resulting from decreased levels of estrogen. Hot flashes can occur at any time and may last from a few seconds to a half-hour. They are due to blood vessel opening and constricting and a symptom of menopause.
Hyperhidrosis: A condition characterized by extreme and excessive sweating. Primary hyperhidrosis affects the hands, feet, and armpits and often has no identifiable cause. If the sweating occurs as a result of another medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. In secondary hyperhidrosis, the sweating may be all over the body or may be localized to one area. A number of medical conditions can cause secondary hyperhidrosis.
Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.
Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to move. A joint is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage. Joints are grouped according to their type of motion: ball-and-socket joint; hinge joint; condyloid joint, which permits all forms of angular movement except axial rotation; pivot joint; gliding joint; or saddle joint. Joints can move in only four ways: gliding, in which one bony surface glides on another, without angular or rotatory movement; angular, a movement that occurs only between long bones, increasing or decreasing the angle between the bones; circumduction, which occurs in joints composed of the head of a bone and an articular cavity, with the long bone describing a series of circles and the whole forming a cone; and rotation, in which a bone moves about a central axis without moving from this axis. Also known as articulation and arthrosis.
Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, and in medical terminology, the portion of the lower extremity that runs from the knee to the ankle. The leg (in the medical sense) has two bones'the tibia (shinbone) and the fibula'both of which are known as long bones. The larger of the two is the tibia. The fibula runs alongside the tibia.
Morphine: A powerful narcotic agent that has strong analgesic (pain relief) action and other significant effects on the central nervous system. It is dangerously addicting. Morphine is a naturally occurring member of a large chemical class of compounds called alkaloids. The name, which derives from Morpheus (the mythologic god of dreams) was coined in 1805 by German apothecary Adolf Serturner to designate the main alkaloid in opium. Opium comes from the poppy plant.
Motion sickness: A disorder of the sense of balance and equilibrium and, hence, the sense of spatial orientation that is caused by repeated motion such as from the swell of the sea, the movement of a car, or the motion of a plane in turbulent air. Motion sickness is due to irritation of a portion of the inner ear called the labyrinth. The symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. Other common signs of motion sickness are sweating and a general feeling of discomfort and not feeling well (malaise). Symptoms usually stop when the motion that causes it ceases. However, some people suffer symptoms for even a few days after the trip is over.
Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, including systemic illnesses (such as influenza), medications, pain, and inner ear disease.
Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another. The fibrous portions of a nerve are covered by a sheath called myelin and/or a membrane called neurilemma. (Note that entries for specific nerves can be found under the names of the particular nerves. For example, the optic nerve is not under 'nerve, optic' but rather under 'optic nerve.')
Neuralgia: Pain along the course of a nerve.
Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.
Neurotransmitter: A chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another.
Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintenance and restoration of health by attending the needs of sick persons. 2) Feeding a infant at the breast.
Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneumonia is frequently but not always due to infection. The infection may be bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic. Symptoms may include fever, chills, cough with sputum production, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is suggested by the symptoms and confirmed by chest X-ray testing. Treatment includes antibiotics.
Postherpetic neuralgia: The most common complication of shingles, persistence of the pain associated with shingles beyond 1 month, even after the rash is gone. The pain can be severe and debilitating, and it occurs primarily in persons over age 50. The pain of postherpetic neuralgia can be reduced by certain medications including tricyclic antidepressant medications and some antiseizure medications. Capsaicin cream, a derivative of hot chili peppers, or lidocaine patches can be applied on the area after all the blisters have healed, to reduce pain. Acupuncture and electric nerve stimulation through the skin can be helpful for some patients.
Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long.
Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or device for a patient. A prescription has several parts. They include the superscription or heading with the symbol "R" or "Rx", which stands for the word recipe (meaning, in Latin, to take); the inscription, which contains the names and quantities of the ingredients; the subscription or directions for compounding the drug; and the signature which is often preceded by the sign "s" standing for signa (Latin for mark), giving the directions to be marked on the container.
Restless leg syndrome: An uncomfortable (creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling, twitching, tearing, aching, throbbing, prickling, or grabbing) sensation in the calves that occurs while sitting or while lying down. The result is an uncontrollable urge to relieve the uncomfortable sensation by
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Seizure disorders: One of a great many medical conditions that are characterized by episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures). Some seizure disorders are hereditary, but others are caused by birth defects or environmental hazards, such as lead poisoning. Seizure disorders are more likely to develop in patients who have other neurological disorders, psychiatric conditions, or immune-system problems. In some cases, uncontrolled seizures can cause brain damage, lowered intelligence, and permanent mental and physical impairment. Diagnosis is by observation, neurological examination, electroencephalogram (EEG), and in some cases more advanced brain imaging techniques. Treatment is usually by medication, although in difficult cases a special diet or brain surgery may be tried.
Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes chickenpox. Shingles is most common after the age of 50 and the risk rises with advancing age. Shingles occurs because of exposure to chickenpox or reactivation of the herpes zoster virus. The virus remains latent (dormant) in nerve roots for many years following chickenpox.
Somnolence: Sleepiness, the state of feeling drowsy, ready to fall asleep. A person experiencing somnolence is somnolent and is acting somnolently.
Suicidal: Pertaining to suicide. the taking of ones own life. As in a suicidal gesture, suicidal thought, or suicidal act. An "online lifeline for suicidal undergrads" may help prevent college students from committing suicide.
Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
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