Medications Information – Index of drug monographs produced by pharmacists and medical doctors

ACE (angiotensin
converting enzyme) inhibitors
-Angiotensin
converting enzyme inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure. They
cause the blood vessels to relax and become larger and, as a result, blood
pressure is lowered. When blood pressure is reduced, the heart has an easier
time pumping blood. This is especially beneficial when the heart is
failing. ACE inhibitors also cause the process of hypertensive- and
diabetes-related kidney diseases to slow down and prevent early deaths
associated with high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors cannot be taken during
pregnancy since they may cause birth defects. Generic ACE inhibitors are
available.

acetaminophen (brand name:
Tylenol)
-A pain reliever and
fever reducer. The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not
known. Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold (that
is, by requiring a greater amount of pain to develop before it is felt by
a person). Acetaminophen reduces fever through its action on the
heat-regulating center of the brain. Generic is available.

alprazolam (brand name:
Xanax)
– A benzodiazepine sedative that causes dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is useful in treating anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and muscle spasms. Generic is available.

amoxicillin (brand names: Amoxil, Polymox,
Trimox)
-An antibiotic of the
penicillin type that is effective against different bacteria such as
Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria gonorrhoea, Escherichia coli,
Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci,
particularly infections of the middle ear, tonsillitis, throat infections,
laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Amoxicillin is also used in
treating urinary tract infections, skin infections, and gonorrhea. Generic
is available.

atenolol (brand name:
Tenormin)
-A medication that blocks the action of
a portion of the involuntary nervous system that stimulates the pace of
the heartbeat. By blocking the action of these nerves, atenolol reduces
the heart rate and is useful in treating abnormally rapid heart rhythms.
Atenolol also reduces the force of heart muscle contraction, lowers blood
pressure, and is helpful in treating angina. It is also used for the
prevention of migraine headaches and the treatment of certain types of
tremors. Generic is available.

bupropion (brand names: Wellbutrin, Zyban, Wellbutrin
SR)
-An
antidepressant medication that affects chemicals within the brain that
nerves use to send messages to each other. These chemical messengers are
called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters that are released by
nerves are taken up again by the nerves that release them for reuse
(referred to as reuptake). Many experts believe that depression is caused
by an imbalance among the amounts of neurotransmitters that are released.
Bupropion is unrelated to other antidepressants. It works by inhibiting
the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and
norepinephrine, resulting in more of these chemicals being available to
transmit messages to other nerves. Bupropion is unique in that its major
effect is on dopamine. Wellbutrin and Wellbutrin SR are used for the
management of depression. Zyban has been approved as an aid to patients
who want to quit smoking. Generic is not available.

cephalexin (brand names: Keflex,
Keftabs)
-A semisynthetic cephalosporin
antibiotic that is chemically similar to penicillin. Cephalexin is
effective against a wide variety of bacterial organisms, such as
Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae,
and Escherichia coli, particular involving infections of the middle ear,
tonsillitis, throat infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Cephalexin is also used in treating urinary tract infections and skin and
bone infections. Generic is available.

ciprofloxacin (brand name:
Cipro)
-An antibiotic that stops
multiplication of bacteria by inhibiting the reproduction and repair of
their genetic material (DNA). Ciprofloxacin is used to treat infections of
the skin, lungs, airways, bones, and joints that are caused by susceptible
bacteria. Ciprofloxacin is also frequently used to treat urinary
infections caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli. Ciprofloxacin is
effective in treating infectious diarrheas caused by E. coli,
Campylobacter jejuni, and shigella bacteria. Generic is not available.

citalopram (brand name:
Celexa)
-An antidepressant medication that
affects neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers within the brain.
Neurotransmitters manufactured and released by nerves attach to adjacent
nerves and alter their activities. Thus, neurotransmitters can be thought
of as the communication system of the brain. Many experts believe that an
imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Citalopram
works by preventing the uptake of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, by
nerve cells after it has been released. The reduced uptake caused by
citalopram results in more free serotonin being available in the brain to
stimulate nerve cells. Citalopram is in the class of drugs called
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Generic is not available.

clonazepam (Klonopin)-Used to treat anxiety, clonazepam works
by enhancing the response to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, a
neurotransmitter that inhibits the activity of many parts of the brain. It
is believed that too much activity can lead to anxiety. By enhancing the
response to GABA, clonazepam inhibits activity in the brain and relieves the
short-term symptoms of anxiety. Clonazepam should not be taken during
pregnancy, as the effects are known to cause damage to the fetus. More than
half of those who take clonazepam experience the side effect of sedation.
Generic clonazepam is available.

codeine (brand name:
Empirin 2, 3, 4, Tylenol 2, 3, 4, Tylenol with Codeine Elixir)
-Codeine
is a pain reliever used to temporarily relieve mild to severe pain. Codeine
has the ability to impair thinking and physical ability necessary for
driving, and, when combined with alcohol, the impairment can be worsened.
Those taking codeine have the ability to become dependent on the drug
mentally and physically. Those patients allergic to aspirin and pregnant
mothers should not take codeine. Codeine often is combined with
acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin to add to its effectiveness. Side effects
of codeine include light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness
of breath, and sedation. Generic codeine is available.

doxycycline (brand name:
Vibramycin)
-A synthetic broad-spectrum
antibiotic that is derived from tetracycline and is effective against a
wide variety of bacteria, such as Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus
pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia
trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoea. Doxycycline is particularly helpful
for treating respiratory tract infections and for treating nongonococcal
urethritis (due to ureaplasma), Rocky mountain spotted fever, typhus,
chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, anthrax, syphilis, and acne. Generic is
available.

fluoxetine (brand name:
Prozac)
-A class of antidepressant medications
that affects chemical messengers within the brain. These chemical
messengers are called neurotransmitters. Many experts believe that an
imbalance in these neurotransmitters is the cause of depression.
Fluoxetine is used in the treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive
disorders. Fluoxetine is believed to work by inhibiting the release of or
affecting the action of serotonin. Generic is available.

hydrocodone/acetaminophen (brand names: Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Anexsia,
Lorcet, Lorcet Plus, Norco)
-A narcotic pain reliever and a cough
suppressant that is similar to codeine and is used for the relief of
moderate to moderately severe pain. The precise mechanism of pain relief
by hydrocodone and other narcotics is not known. Acetaminophen is a
nonnarcotic pain reliever and fever reducer. It relieves pain by elevating
the pain threshold and reduces fever through its action on the
heat-regulating center of the brain. Generic is available.

hydroxyzine
(brand names: Vistaril, Atarax)
-An antihistamine with anticholinergic
(drying) and sedative properties that is used to treat allergic
reactions and to relieve nasal and nonnasal symptoms such as those from
seasonal allergic rhinitis. Histamine is released by the body during
several types of allergic reactions and to a lesser extent during some
viral infections, such as the common cold. When histamine binds to its
receptors on cells, it causes changes within the cells that lead to
sneezing, itching, and increased mucus production. Antihistamines
compete with histamine for cell receptors; however, when they bind to
the receptors, antihistamines do not stimulate the cells. In addition,
antihistamines prevent histamine from binding and stimulating the cells.
Generic is available.

ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin, Medipren,
Nuprin)
-A
traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is
effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. As a
group, NSAIDs are nonnarcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many
causes, including injury, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and other
musculoskeletal conditions. Generic is available.


levothyroxine sodium (brand names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid,
Unithroid)
-A synthetic version of the principal thyroid hormone
thyroxine (T4), which is made and released by the thyroid gland.
Levothyroxine sodium is used to treat hypothyroidism and to suppress
thyroid hormone release in the management of cancerous thyroid nodules
and growth of goiters. Thyroid hormone increases the metabolic rate of
cells of all tissues in the body. Thyroid hormone helps to maintain
brain function, food metabolism, and body temperature, among other
effects. Generic is available.

lisinopril (brand name: Zestril, Prinivil)-Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor that works to lower blood pressure by relaxing and
enlarging blood vessels. It also is used to treat heart failure.
Lisinopril should be taken at the same time each day in order to ensure
consistent blood levels. Pregnant mothers should avoid lisinopril, and
it is important to avoid taking lisinopril within two hours of an
antacid since antacid binds the lisinopril and prevents it from being
absorbed into the body. Side effects of lisinopril include dizziness
that is felt when the blood pressure begins to drop, and kidney damage
as well. Those taking potassium supplements or diuretics that cause
potassium to be retained by the body should not take lisinopril because
blood potassium levels may rise to dangerously high levels. Generic
lisinopril is available.

lithium (brand name:
Lithobid)
-Since
the 1950s, lithium has been used in the treatment of bipolar disorder as
well as depression. Lithium is a mineral that has a positive charge, similar
to sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It works by interfering inside
cells with other minerals with positive charges such as potassium, calcium
and magnesium. Lithium impacts the brain by affecting both the
concentrations of tryptophan and serotonin within the brain’s cells, and
neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that nerves use to communicate with
each other. It is recommended that lithium be taken together with food. The
full clinical effects of lithium are seen about 2-3 weeks after beginning
treatment. Goiters of the thyroid gland develop in one out of every 25
persons taking lithium. Generic lithium is available.

lorazepam (brand names:
Ativan)
-An antianxiety medication in the
benzodiazepine family. Lorazepam and other benzodiazepines act by
enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to
send messages to one another. GABA inhibits activity in many of the
nerves of the brain, and it is thought that this excessive activity is
what causes anxiety and other psychological disorders. Lorazepam has
fewer interactions with other medications and is felt to be potentially
less toxic than most of the other benzodiazepines. Lorazepam is also
used to treat insomnia and panic attacks. Generic is available.

meloxicam (brand name:
Mobic)
-Meloxicam is a
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used in the treatment of
inflammation due to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Meloxicam, like
other NSAIDs, reduces the pain, tenderness and swelling caused by
inflammation by preventing the formation of chemicals that contribute to
inflammation. Individuals who are prone to asthma attacks, hives or have an
allergy to aspirin and other NSAIDs should not take meloxicam. Aspirin
should not be taken with meloxicam as such a combination raises the risk for
developing ulcers of the stomach or small intestine. Generic meloxicam is
available..

metformin (brand name:
Glucophage)
-Approved by the FDA in 1994,
metformin is used to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes in adults
and children. Metformin also reduces complications of diabetes including
heart disease, blindness and kidney disease. When used alone, metformin does
not increase insulin levels in the blood and, therefore, does not result in
extremely low blood glucose levels. Metformin increases the effects that
insulin has on the liver, muscle, fat, and other tissues. As a result, the
reduced levels of insulin have more of an effect than they otherwise would.
Metformin also has been used to prevent diabetes from worsening and also has
been used to treat polycystic ovaries. Side effects of metformin include
nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Generic
metformin is available.

methotrexate (brand names: Rheumatrex,
Trexall)
-A drug that is
capable of blocking the metabolism of cells (an antimetabolite). As a
result of this effect, methotrexate has been found to be helpful in
treating certain diseases associated with abnormally rapid cell growth,
such as cancer of the breast and psoriasis. Recently, methotrexate has
been shown to be effective in inducing miscarriage (for example, in
patients with ectopic pregnancy). This effect of methotrexate is
attributed to its action of killing the rapidly growing cells of the
placenta. Methotrexate has also been found to be very helpful in
treating rheumatoid arthritis, although its mechanism of action in this
illness is not known. Methotrexate seems to work, in part, by altering
aspects of immune function that may play a role in causing rheumatoid
arthritis. Generic is available.

methylprednisolone (brand name:
Medrol, Depo-Medrol)
-Methylprednisolone is
a synthetic corticosteroid that is used to reduce inflammation in
inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, and
ulcerative colitis. The body produces corticosteroids naturally in the
adrenal glands. Methylprednisolone may be used during pregnancy as it does
not cause abnormalities in the fetus. However, using methylprednisolone for
long periods of time can cause the body to stop producing its own
corticosteroids. This can lead to a serious problem, i.e., inadequate
amounts of corticosteroids, if the methylprednisolone is stopped for any
reason. Generic methylprednisolone is available.

metoprolol (brand names: Lopressor, Toprol
XL)
-A medication that
blocks the action of a portion of the involuntary nervous system. The
sympathetic nervous system stimulates the pace of the heart beat. By
blocking the action of these nerves, metoprolol reduces the heart rate
and is useful in treating abnormally rapid heart rhythms. Metoprolol
also reduces the force of heart muscle contraction, lowers blood
pressure, and is helpful in treating angina. Generic is available.

metronidazole (brand name: Flagyl)-Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to fight infections caused by a class of bacteria
called anaerobic bacteria as well as some parasites. Metronidazole is used
for infections of the small intestine, amebic liver abscesses, dysentery and
trichomonas vaginal infections. It also is used to treat infections of the
colon caused by the bacterium, Clostridium difficile. Taking metronidazole
with alcohol is dangerous as it can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, flushing
and headache. Pregnant mothers and nursing mothers should not use
metronidazole. Side effects of metronidazole, although they are few, include
seizures and nerve damage that can lead to numbness and tingling of the
hands and feet. Generic metronidazole is available.

naproxen (brand names: Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox,
Aleve)
-A
traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is
effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. As a
group, NSAIDs are nonnarcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many
causes, including injury, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and other
musculoskeletal conditions. Generic is available.

phentermine (brand names: Adipex-P, Fastin, Obenix,
Oby-Trim)
-An
appetite suppressor that decreases appetite by possibly changing brain
levels of serotonin. Phentermine is a nervous system stimulator like the
amphetamines, causing stimulation, elevation of blood pressure, and
increased heart rates. Phentermine is used for short periods, along with
diet and behavior modification, to treat obesity. Generic is available.

prednisone (brand names: Deltasone, Liquid
Pred, Prednisolone,
Pediapred Oral Liquid, Medrol)
-An oral, synthetic corticosteroid that is
used for suppressing the immune system and inflammation. Synthetic
corticosteroids mimic the action of cortisol (hydrocortisone), the
naturally occurring corticosteroid that is produced in the body by the
adrenal glands. Corticosteroids have many effects on the body, but they
most often are used for their potent anti-inflammatory effects,
particularly in conditions in which the immune system plays an important
role. Such conditions include arthritis, colitis, asthma, bronchitis,
certain skin rashes, and allergic or inflammatory conditions of the nose
and eyes. Generic is available.

tramadol (brand name:
Ultram)
-A pain reliever (analgesic) that is
used in the management of moderate to moderately severe pain. Its mode
of action resembles that of narcotics, but tramadol has significantly
less potential for abuse and addiction than narcotics. Tramadol is as
effective as narcotics in relieving pain, but it does not depress
respiration, which is a side effect of most narcotics. Generic is not
available.

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