The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the valproic acid, divalproex, Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon, Stavzor article.
Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect a major problem with one of the organs in the abdomen, such as appendicitis or a perforated intestine, or it may result from a fairly minor problem, such as excess buildup of intestinal gas.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract.
Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.
Alopecia: Baldness. There are many types of alopecia, each with a different cause. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy as in a condition called alopecia areata. Or it can involve the entire head as in alopecia capitis totalis. The word "alopecia" comes from the Greek "alopex" for "fox." Foxes are less furry when afflicted with a skin disease (the "mange") which causes them to lose their hair. When a fancier word for "baldness" was sought, the mangy fox supplied it -- "alopecia" or, if you wish, "fox-mange" -- not a very positive image to associate with baldness!
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.
Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
AZT: Azidothymidine, now renamed zidovudine, but still best known by the abbreviation AZT. This antiviral drug is prescribed, usually in combination with protease inhibitors and other drugs, to treat HIV infection in patients with AIDS.
Bipolar disorder: A mood disorder sometimes called manic-depressive illness or manic-depression that characteristically involves cycles of depression and elation or mania. Sometimes the mood switches from high to low and back again are dramatic and rapid, but more often they are gradual and slow, and intervals of normal mood may occur between the high (manic) and low (depressive) phases of the condition. The symptoms of both the depressive and manic cycles may be severe and often lead to impaired functioning.
Blood clot: A mass of coagulated blood. A blood clot can block a major blood vessel, causing stroke or other problems.
Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a thrombus.
Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It functions as a primary receiver, organizer, and distributor of information for the body. It has a right half and a left half, each of which is called a hemisphere.
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.
Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants. This includes even premature and sick babies, with rare exceptions. It is the food least likely to cause allergic reactions; it is inexpensive; it is readily available at any hour of the day or night; babies accept the taste readily; and the antibodies in breast milk can help a baby resist infections.
Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood vessels and carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them. Cardiovascular diseases are conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels and include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, shock, endocarditis, diseases of the aorta and its branches, disorders of the peripheral vascular system, and congenital heart disease.
Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. The opposite of constipation. There are many infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea is both uncomfortable and dangerous to the health because it can indicate an underlying infection and may mean that the body is not able to absorb some nutrients due to a problem in the bowels. Treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and taking over-the-counter remedies. People with diarrhea that persists for more than a couple days, particularly small children or elderly people, should seek medical attention.
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.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
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.
Heparin: An anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication. Heparin is useful in preventing thromboembolic complications (clots that travel from their site of origin through the blood stream to clog up another vessel). Heparin is also used in the early treatment of blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolisms).
Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appears in a particular population or area.
Infant: A young baby, from birth to 12 months of age.
Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emotional sense. From the Latin injuria meaning injury.
Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines.
Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin and makes the person want to scratch the affected area. Itching is medically known as pruritis; something that is itchy is pruritic.
Jaundice: Yellow staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) by abnormally high blood levels of the bile pigment bilirubin. The yellowing extends to other tissues and body fluids. Jaundice was once called the "morbus regius" (the regal disease) in the belief that only the touch of a king could cure it.
Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolize and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolizing or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
Malaise: A vague feeling of discomfort, one that cannot be pinned down but is often sensed as 'just not right.'
Mania: An abnormally elevated mood state characterized by such symptoms as inappropriate elation, increased irritability, severe insomnia, grandiose notions, increased speed and/or volume of speech, disconnected and racing thoughts, increased sexual desire, markedly increased energy and activity level, poor judgment, and inappropriate social behavior. A mild form in mania that does not require hospitalization is termed hypomania. Mania that also features symptoms of depression ("agitated depression") is called mixed mania.
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.
Neural: Having to do with nerve cells (neurons).
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.
Offspring: The progeny, or young, born to a person. In a larger sense, the offspring are collectively all the descendants, the brood, or the family. For example, the offspring of someone with a genetic (inherited) condition, such as Huntington?s disease, are themselves at risk for the disease.
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.
Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas. Of the many causes of pancreatitis, the most common are alcohol consumption and gallstones. Other causes include medications (azathioprine, estrogen, thiazides, metronidazole, valproic acid, and tetracycline), trauma, abdominal surgery, abnormalities of the pancreas and intestine, and infections such as mumps. Acute pancreatitis usually begins with pain in the upper abdomen that may last for a few days. The pain may be sudden and intense, or it may begin as a mild pain that is aggravated by eating and slowly grows worse. The abdomen may be very tender. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and fever. The patient often feels and looks very sick. Chronic pancreatitis usually follows many years of alcohol abuse and may cause pain; malabsorption of food, leading to weight loss; and diabetes, if the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (islet cells) are damaged.
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.
Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
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.
Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the DNA coding for the protein.
Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical condition, hormonal cycles, allergies, or contact with irritating substances. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the rash. Medically, a rash is referred to as an exanthem.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sensitivity training, training in small groups to develop a sensitive awareness and understanding of oneself and of ones relationships with others. 2. In disease epidemiology, the ability of a system to detect epidemics and other changes in disease occurrence. 3. In screening for a disease, the proportion of persons with the disease who are correctly identified by a screening test. 4. In the definition of a disease, the proportion of persons with the disease who are correctly identified by defined criteria.
Spina bifida: A major birth defect and a type of neural tube defect that involves an opening in the vertebral column caused by the failure of the neural tube to close properly during embryonic development. (The neural tube is the structure in the developing embryo that gives rise to the brain and spinal cord.) Because of the defect in the spine, part of the spinal cord is exposed and protrudes as a meningomyelocele. People with spina bifida often have neurological deficits below the level of the lesion and can suffer from bladder and bowel incontinence, limited mobility (due to paralysis of the legs), and learning problems. The risk of spina bifida varies according to country, ethnic group, and socioeconomic status. In the US as a whole, spina bifida occurs in 1 in every 1,000 to 2,000 births. The risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects, such as anencephaly, can be significantly decreased if women take ample folic acid before conception and during pregnancy.
Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upper part of the stomach connects to the esophagus, and the lower part leads into the small intestine. When food enters the stomach, muscles in the stomach wall create a rippling motion (peristalsis) that mixes and mashes the food. At the same time, juices made by glands in the lining of the stomach help digest the food. After about 3 hours, the food becomes a liquid and moves into the small intestine, where digestion continues.
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.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Subchronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.
Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prevent the blood from clotting and to treat blood clots and overly thick blood. Warfarin is also used to reduce the risk of clots causing strokes or heart attacks.
Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (diet, exercise) or involuntary (illness) circumstances. Most instances of weight loss arise due to the loss of body fat, but in cases of extreme or severe weight loss, protein and other substances in the body can also be depleted. Examples of involuntary weight loss include the weight loss associated with cancer, malabsorption (such as from chronic diarrheal illnesses ), and chronic inflammation (such as with rheumatoid arthritis).
Zidovudine: See: AZT.
Find tips and treatments to control seizures.
Most Popular Topics
valproic acid Related Supplements
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies