Drug categories A

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Drug Category Names, Results, and Descriptions

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  • Adjuvants, Immunologic (128) • Substances that augment, stimulate, activate, potentiate, or modulate the immune response at either the cellular or humoral level. The classical agents (Freund's adjuvant, BCG, Corynebacterium parvum, et al.) contain bacterial antigens. Some are endogenous (e.g., histamine, interferon, transfer factor, tuftsin, interleukin-1). Their mode of action is either non-specific, resulting in increased immune responsiveness to a wide variety of antigens, or antigen-specific, i.e., affecting a restricted type of immune response to a narrow group of antigens. The therapeutic efficacy of many biological response modifiers is related to their antigen-specific immunoadjuvanticity


  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic (2) • Agents that aid or increase the action of the principle drug (DRUG SYNERGISM) or that affect the absorption, mechanism of action, metabolism, or excretion of the primary drug (PHARMACOKINETICS) in such a way as to enhance its effects




  • Adrenergic Agents (278) • Drugs that act on adrenergic receptors or affect the life cycle of adrenergic transmitters. Included here are adrenergic agonists and antagonists and agents that affect the synthesis, storage, uptake, metabolism, or release of adrenergic transmitters








  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists (67) • Drugs that bind to but do not activate alpha-adrenergic receptors thereby blocking the actions of endogenous or exogenous adrenergic agonists. Adrenergic alpha-antagonists are used in the treatment of hypertension, vasospasm, peripheral vascular disease, shock, and pheochromocytoma


  • Adrenergic Antagonists (134) • Drugs that bind to but do not activate ADRENERGIC RECEPTORS. Adrenergic antagonists block the actions of the endogenous adrenergic transmitters EPINEPHRINE and NOREPINEPHRINE









  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists (75) • Drugs that bind to but do not activate beta-adrenergic receptors thereby blocking the actions of beta-adrenergic agonists. Adrenergic beta-antagonists are used for treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, glaucoma, migraine headaches, and anxiety







  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors (29) • Drugs that block the transport of adrenergic transmitters into axon terminals or into storage vesicles within terminals. The tricyclic antidepressants (ANTIDEPRESSIVE AGENTS, TRICYCLIC) and amphetamines are among the therapeutically important drugs that may act via inhibition of adrenergic transport. Many of these drugs also block transport of serotonin


  • Aerosol Propellants (1) • Compressed gases or vapors in a container which, upon release of pressure and expansion through a valve, carry another substance from the container. They are used for cosmetics, household cleaners, and so on. Examples are BUTANES; CARBON DIOXIDE; FLUOROCARBONS; NITROGEN; and PROPANE. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed) MeSH]]


  • Affinity Labels (40) • Analogs of those substrates or compounds which bind naturally at the active sites of proteins, enzymes, antibodies, steroids, or physiological receptors. These analogs form a stable covalent bond at the binding site, thereby acting as inhibitors of the proteins or steroids





  • Air Pollutants (15) • Any substance in the air which could, if present in high enough concentration, harm humans, animals, vegetation or material. Substances include GASES; PARTICULATE MATTER; and volatile ORGANIC CHEMICALS



  • Air Pollutants, Occupational (4) • Air pollutants found in the work area. They are usually produced by the specific nature of the occupation



  • Alcohol Deterrents (5) • Substances interfering with the metabolism of ethyl alcohol, causing unpleasant side effects thought to discourage the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol deterrents are used in the treatment of alcoholism



  • Alkylating Agents (73) • Highly reactive chemicals that introduce alkyl radicals into biologically active molecules and thereby prevent their proper functioning. Many are used as antineoplastic agents, but most are very toxic, with carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and immunosuppressant actions. They have also been used as components in poison gases





  • Amebicides (13) • Agents which are destructive to amebae, especially the parasitic species causing AMEBIASIS in man and animal






  • Amylin Receptor Agonists (1) • Compounds that stimulate the activity of AMYMIN RECEPTORS. Included under this heading is the endogenous form of ISLET AMYLOID POLYPEPTIDE and synthetic compounds that mimic its effect


  • Anabolic Agents (26) • These compounds stimulate anabolism and inhibit catabolism. They stimulate the development of muscle mass, strength, and power




  • Analgesics (436) • Compounds capable of relieving pain without the loss of CONSCIOUSNESS



  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic (290) • A subclass of analgesic agents that typically do not bind to OPIOID RECEPTORS and are not addictive. Many non-narcotic analgesics are offered as NONPRESCRIPTION DRUGS


  • Analgesics, Opioid (73) • Compounds with activity like OPIATE ALKALOIDS, acting at OPIOID RECEPTORS. Properties include induction of ANALGESIA or NARCOSIS


  • Androgen Antagonists (18) • Compounds which inhibit or antagonize the biosynthesis or actions of androgens





  • Androgens (12) • Compounds that interact with ANDROGEN RECEPTORS in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of TESTOSTERONE. Depending on the target tissues, androgenic effects can be on SEX DIFFERENTIATION; male reproductive organs, SPERMATOGENESIS; secondary male SEX CHARACTERISTICS; LIBIDO; development of muscle mass, strength, and power




  • Anesthetics (91) • Agents that are capable of inducing a total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensation and pain. They may act to induce general ANESTHESIA, in which an unconscious state is achieved, or may act locally to induce numbness or lack of sensation at a targeted site


  • Anesthetics, Combined (4) • The use of two or more chemicals simultaneously or sequentially to induce anesthesia. The drugs need not be in the same dosage form


  • Anesthetics, Dissociative (4) • Intravenous anesthetics that induce a state of sedation, immobility, amnesia, and marked analgesia. Subjects may experience a strong feeling of dissociation from the environment. The condition produced is similar to NEUROLEPTANALGESIA, but is brought about by the administration of a single drug. (From Gilman et al., Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 8th ed) MeSH]]



  • Anesthetics, Inhalation (11) • Gases or volatile liquids that vary in the rate at which they induce anesthesia; potency; the degree of circulation, respiratory, or neuromuscular depression they produce; and analgesic effects. Inhalation anesthetics have advantages over intravenous agents in that the depth of anesthesia can be changed rapidly by altering the inhaled concentration. Because of their rapid elimination, any postoperative respiratory depression is of relatively short duration. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p173) MeSH]]


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous (19) • Ultrashort-acting anesthetics that are used for induction. Loss of consciousness is rapid and induction is pleasant, but there is no muscle relaxation and reflexes frequently are not reduced adequately. Repeated administration results in accumulation and prolongs the recovery time. Since these agents have little if any analgesic activity, they are seldom used alone except in brief minor procedures. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p174) MeSH]]


  • Anesthetics, Local (38) • Drugs that block nerve conduction when applied locally to nerve tissue in appropriate concentrations. They act on any part of the nervous system and on every type of nerve fiber. In contact with a nerve trunk, these anesthetics can cause both sensory and motor paralysis in the innervated area. Their action is completely reversible. (From Gilman AG, et. al., Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 8th ed) Nearly all local anesthetics act by reducing the tendency of voltage-dependent sodium channels to activate





  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors (31) • Agents and endogenous substances that antagonize or inhibit the development of new blood vessels



  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers (22) • Agents that antagonize ANGIOTENSIN II TYPE 1 RECEPTOR. Included are ANGIOTENSIN II analogs such as SARALASIN and biphenylimidazoles such as LOSARTAN. Some are used as ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS




  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (51) • A class of drugs whose main indications are the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. They exert their hemodynamic effect mainly by inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system. They also modulate sympathetic nervous system activity and increase prostaglandin synthesis. They cause mainly vasodilation and mild natriuresis without affecting heart rate and contractility


  • Anion Exchange Resins (3) • High-molecular-weight insoluble polymers that contain functional cationic groups capable of undergoing exchange reactions with anions


  • Antacids (21) • Substances that counteract or neutralize acidity of the GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT


  • Anthelmintics (106) • Agents destructive to parasitic worms. They are used therapeutically in the treatment of HELMINTHIASIS in man and animal


  • Anti-Allergic Agents (49) • Agents that are used to treat allergic reactions. Most of these drugs act by preventing the release of inflammatory mediators or inhibiting the actions of released mediators on their target cells. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p475) MeSH]]




  • Anti-Anxiety Agents (89) • Agents that alleviate ANXIETY, tension, and ANXIETY DISORDERS, promote sedation, and have a calming effect without affecting clarity of consciousness or neurologic conditions. ADRENERGIC BETA-ANTAGONISTS are commonly used in the symptomatic treatment of anxiety but are not included here



  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents (153) • Agents used for the treatment or prevention of cardiac arrhythmias. They may affect the polarization-repolarization phase of the action potential, its excitability or refractoriness, or impulse conduction or membrane responsiveness within cardiac fibers. Anti-arrhythmia agents are often classed into four main groups according to their mechanism of action: sodium channel blockade, beta-adrenergic blockade, repolarization prolongation, or calcium channel blockade





  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents (54) • Drugs used in the treatment of movement disorders. Most of these act centrally on dopaminergic or cholinergic systems. Among the most important clinically are those used for the treatment of Parkinson disease (ANTIPARKINSON AGENTS) and those for the tardive dyskinesias


  • Anti-HIV Agents (87) • Agents used to treat AIDS and/or stop the spread of the HIV infection. These do not include drugs used to treat symptoms or opportunistic infections associated with AIDS


  • Anti-Infective Agents (1238) • Substances that prevent infectious agents or organisms from spreading or kill infectious agents in order to prevent the spread of infection


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local (75) • Substances used on humans and other animals that destroy harmful microorganisms or inhibit their activity. They are distinguished from DISINFECTANTS, which are used on inanimate objects




  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal (256) • Anti-inflammatory agents that are non-steroidal in nature. In addition to anti-inflammatory actions, they have analgesic, antipyretic, and platelet-inhibitory actions.They act by blocking the synthesis of prostaglandins by inhibiting cyclooxygenase, which converts arachidonic acid to cyclic endoperoxides, precursors of prostaglandins. Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis accounts for their analgesic, antipyretic, and platelet-inhibitory actions; other mechanisms may contribute to their anti-inflammatory effects



  • Anti-Obesity Agents (26) • Agents that increase energy expenditure and weight loss by neural and chemical regulation. Beta-adrenergic agents and serotoninergic drugs have been experimentally used in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) to treat obesity




  • Anti-Ulcer Agents (79) • Various agents with different action mechanisms used to treat or ameliorate PEPTIC ULCER or irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. This has included ANTIBIOTICS to treat HELICOBACTER INFECTIONS; HISTAMINE H2 ANTAGONISTS to reduce GASTRIC ACID secretion; and ANTACIDS for symptomatic relief




  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic (102) • Chemical substances, produced by microorganisms, inhibiting or preventing the proliferation of neoplasms


  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular (11) • Substances obtained from various species of microorganisms that are, alone or in combination with other agents, of use in treating various forms of tuberculosis; most of these agents are merely bacteriostatic, induce resistance in the organisms, and may be toxic



  • Anticarcinogenic Agents (36) • Agents that reduce the frequency or rate of spontaneous or induced tumors independently of the mechanism involved








  • Anticonvulsants (128) • Drugs used to prevent SEIZURES or reduce their severity


  • Antidepressive Agents (99) • Mood-stimulating drugs used primarily in the treatment of affective disorders and related conditions. Several MONOAMINE OXIDASE INHIBITORS are useful as antidepressants apparently as a long-term consequence of their modulation of catecholamine levels. The tricyclic compounds useful as antidepressive agents (ANTIDEPRESSIVE AGENTS, TRICYCLIC) also appear to act through brain catecholamine systems. A third group (ANTIDEPRESSIVE AGENTS, SECOND-GENERATION) is a diverse group of drugs including some that act specifically on serotonergic systems


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation (20) • A structurally and mechanistically diverse group of drugs that are not tricyclics or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. The most clinically important appear to act selectively on serotonergic systems, especially by inhibiting serotonin reuptake


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic (26) • Substances that contain a fused three-ring moiety and are used in the treatment of depression. These drugs block the uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin into axon terminals and may block some subtypes of serotonin, adrenergic, and histamine receptors. However the mechanism of their antidepressant effects is not clear because the therapeutic effects usually take weeks to develop and may reflect compensatory changes in the central nervous system



  • Antidiarrheals (17) • Miscellaneous agents found useful in the symptomatic treatment of diarrhea. They have no effect on the agent(s) that cause diarrhea, but merely alleviate the condition


  • Antidiuretic Agents (5) • Agents that reduce the excretion of URINE, most notably the octapeptide VASOPRESSINS




  • Antidotes (35) • Agents counteracting or neutralizing the action of POISONS



  • Antiemetics (54) • Drugs used to prevent NAUSEA or VOMITING




  • Antifibrinolytic Agents (7) • Agents that prevent fibrinolysis or lysis of a blood clot or thrombus. Several endogenous antiplasmins are known. The drugs are used to control massive hemorrhage and in other coagulation disorders



  • Antifoaming Agents (2) • Agents used to prevent the formation of foam or to treat flatulence or bloat


  • Antifungal Agents (150) • Substances that destroy fungi by suppressing their ability to grow or reproduce. They differ from FUNGICIDES, INDUSTRIAL because they defend against fungi present in human or animal tissues




  • Antihypertensive Agents (268) • Drugs used in the treatment of acute or chronic vascular HYPERTENSION regardless of pharmacological mechanism. Among the antihypertensive agents are DIURETICS; (especially DIURETICS, THIAZIDE); ADRENERGIC BETA-ANTAGONISTS; ADRENERGIC ALPHA-ANTAGONISTS; ANGIOTENSIN-CONVERTING ENZYME INHIBITORS; CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS; GANGLIONIC BLOCKERS; and VASODILATOR AGENTS




  • Antimalarials (74) • Agents used in the treatment of malaria. They are usually classified on the basis of their action against plasmodia at different stages in their life cycle in the human. (From AMA, Drug Evaluations Annual, 1992, p1585) MeSH]]


  • Antimanic Agents (6) • Agents that are used to treat bipolar disorders or mania associated with other affective disorders



  • Antimetabolites (191) • Drugs that are chemically similar to naturally occurring metabolites, but differ enough to interfere with normal metabolic pathways. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p2033) MeSH]]



  • Antimitotic Agents (35) • Agents that arrest cells in MITOSIS, most notably TUBULIN MODULATORS


  • Antimutagenic Agents (15) • Agents that reduce the frequency or rate of spontaneous or induced mutations independently of the mechanism involved



  • Antinematodal Agents (42) • Substances used in the treatment or control of nematode infestations. They are used also in veterinary practice



  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating (47) • A class of drugs that differs from other alkylating agents used clinically in that they are monofunctional and thus unable to cross-link cellular macromolecules. Among their common properties are a requirement for metabolic activation to intermediates with antitumor efficacy and the presence in their chemical structures of N-methyl groups, that after metabolism, can covalently modify cellular DNA. The precise mechanisms by which each of these drugs acts to kill tumor cells are not completely understood. (From AMA, Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p2026) MeSH]]


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal (36) • Antineoplastic agents that are used to treat hormone-sensitive tumors. Hormone-sensitive tumors may be hormone-dependent, hormone-responsive, or both. A hormone-dependent tumor regresses on removal of the hormonal stimulus, by surgery or pharmacological block. Hormone-responsive tumors may regress when pharmacologic amounts of hormones are administered regardless of whether previous signs of hormone sensitivity were observed. The major hormone-responsive cancers include carcinomas of the breast, prostate, and endometrium; lymphomas; and certain leukemias. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual 1994, p2079) MeSH]]






  • Antioxidants (163) • Naturally occurring or synthetic substances that inhibit or retard the oxidation of a substance to which it is added. They counteract the harmful and damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissues



  • Antiparkinson Agents (50) • Agents used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. The most commonly used drugs act on the dopaminergic system in the striatum and basal ganglia or are centrally acting muscarinic antagonists



  • Antiperspirants (1) • Agents that are put on the SKIN to reduce SWEATING or prevent excess sweating (HYPERHIDROSIS)



  • Antiplatyhelmintic Agents (28) • Agents used to treat cestode, trematode, or other flatworm infestations in man or animals



  • Antipruritics (15) • Agents, usually topical, that relieve itching (pruritus)


  • Antipsychotic Agents (111) • Agents that control agitated psychotic behavior, alleviate acute psychotic states, reduce psychotic symptoms, and exert a quieting effect. They are used in SCHIZOPHRENIA; senile dementia; transient psychosis following surgery; or MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION; etc. These drugs are often referred to as neuroleptics alluding to the tendency to produce neurological side effects, but not all antipsychotics are likely to produce such effects. Many of these drugs may also be effective against nausea, emesis, and pruritus




  • Antipyretics (5) • Drugs that are used to reduce body temperature in fever







  • Antisickling Agents (6) • Agents used to prevent or reverse the pathological events leading to sickling of erythrocytes in sickle cell conditions




  • Antispermatogenic Agents (9) • Agents, either mechanical or chemical, which destroy spermatozoa in the male genitalia and block spermatogenesis




  • Antithrombins (29) • Endogenous factors and drugs that directly inhibit the action of THROMBIN, usually by blocking its enzymatic activity. They are distinguished from INDIRECT THROMBIN INHIBITORS, such as HEPARIN, which act by enhancing the inhibitory effects of antithrombins



  • Antithyroid Agents (10) • Agents that are used to treat hyperthyroidism by reducing the excessive production of thyroid hormones



  • Antitreponemal Agents (1) • Agents used to treat infections with bacteria of the genus TREPONEMA. This includes SYPHILIS & YAWS



  • Antitubercular Agents (33) • Drugs used in the treatment of tuberculosis. They are divided into two main classes: "first-line" agents, those with the greatest efficacy and acceptable degrees of toxicity used successfully in the great majority of cases; and "second-line" drugs used in drug-resistant cases or those in which some other patient-related condition has compromised the effectiveness of primary therapy


  • Antitussive Agents (32) • Agents that suppress cough. They act centrally on the medullary cough center. EXPECTORANTS, also used in the treatment of cough, act locally


  • Antiviral Agents (269) • Agents used in the prophylaxis or therapy of VIRUS DISEASES. Some of the ways they may act include preventing viral replication by inhibiting viral DNA polymerase; binding to specific cell-surface receptors and inhibiting viral penetration or uncoating; inhibiting viral protein synthesis; or blocking late stages of virus assembly




  • Appetite Stimulants (2) • Agents that are used to stimulate appetite. These drugs are frequently used to treat anorexia associated with cancer and AIDS





  • Aromatase Inhibitors (10) • Compounds that inhibit AROMATASE in order to reduce production of estrogenic steroid hormones


  • Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase Inhibitors (5) • Compounds and drugs that block or inhibit the enzymatic action of AROMATIC AMINO ACID DECARBOXYLASES. Pharmaceutical agents in this category are used in conjunction with LEVODOPA in order to slow its metabolism





  • Astringents (4) • Agents, usually topical, that cause the contraction of tissues for the control of bleeding or secretions


Drug Category Names, Results, and Descriptions

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Comprehensive list of medications or pharmaceutical drugs used in the United States with their NDC or national drug code, brand name, dosage, forms of administration etc. sorted alphabetically.

See also

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