Definitions of Therapeutic Terms.

Other tomes: Petersen - Sayre

Abortient. Same as Abortifacient, which see.
Abortifacient. A drug which causes expulsion of the fetus (abortion).
Abortive. Same as Abortifacient, which see.
Absorbent. A drug that promotes absorption.
Absorbifacient. Same as Absorbent, which see.
Abstergent. A cleansing or purifying medicine.
Acidifier. A drug which imparts acidity to the fluids, especially to the blood (more correctly lessens alkalinity here), and to the urine.
Alkalinizer. A drug which increases alkalinity of the body fluids, especially the blood, or the urine.
Alterative. A drug which causes a favorable change or alteration in the processes of nutrition and repair, probably through some unknown way improving metabolism.
Analgesic. Same as Anodyne. An agent that relieves pain.
Anaphrodisiac. A drug that lessens sexual desire or depresses sexual power.
Anesthetic (anaesthetic). An agent which temporarily abolishes sensation, producing insensibility to contact and pain. There are local and general anesthetics, the latter being administered by inhalation.
Anhydrotic. An agent which prevents or checks excessive sweating (same as Antihydrotic).
Anodyne. An agent that relieves pain, but does not necessarily produce unconsciousness.
Antacid. An agent that will correct acidity by neutralization, chiefly acidity of the stomach.
Antagonist. An agent which opposes the action of some other medicine, and especially the toxic effects of alkaloidal poisons.
Anthelmintic. A remedy against intestinal worms.
Antiarthritic. A remedy employed to subdue inflammation of the joints.
Antidote. A remedy to counteract poisons. It is (a) chemical, destroying the poison; (b) mechanical, preventing absorption; (c) physiologic, opposing the elect upon the system after absorption of the poison.
Antiemetic. A remedy that prevents or stops vomiting (emesis).
Antigalactagogue. An agent that diminishes the secretion of milk.
Antihemorrhagic. A remedy which arrests or controls bleeding (hemorrhage).
Antihydrotic. A remedy to prevent or control excessive sweating (same as Anhydrotic).
Antilithic. An agent which is believed to prevent the formation of stone, or calculi.
Antimalarial. A remedy against, or relieving in, malarial infection.
Antimiasmatic. A remedy against miasmatic disorders (miasm-noxious exhalation or effluvium); an unsatisfactory term.
Antimicrobic. A drug checking the development or growth of microbes.
Antiperiodic. An agent that diminishes or arrests the periodicity of malarial attacks; in general, an antimalarial, which see.
Antiphagocytic. Opposing or counteracting the action of phagocytes (phagocytosis).
Antiphlogistic. An agent which counteracts inflammation, with fever.
Antipyretic. An agent which reduces the temperature of fevers.
Antirheumatic. An agent employed to prevent or to relieve in rheumatic infection (rheumatism).
Antiscorbutic. A remedy that prevents or corrects scurvy.
Antiseptic. An agent which prevents the growth of microbes and cripples their activity while in contact with them. An agent that opposes or prevents sepsis.
Antisialagogue. An agent that prevents or diminishes the flow of saliva.
Antisialic. An agent that prevents or diminishes the flow of saliva (same as Antisialagogue, which see).
Antispasmodic. An agent that will prevent and relieve spasm of the voluntary or involuntary muscles.
Antisudorific. An agent to prevent or relieve excessive sweating.
Antisyphilitic. A remedy to prevent or to relieve in syphilitic infection (syphilis).
Antitetanic. An agent to prevent or relieve tetanus.
Antithermic. An agent to reduce body temperature.
Antitoxin. Any defensive protein acting as a neutralizer of poison. Most therapeutic antitoxins are derived from the blood-serum of animals in which a specific disease has been purposely developed. Examples: Antidiphtheric and Antitetanic Serums.
Antitussive. A remedy to relieve or prevent cough.
Antizymotic. An agent which prevents or arrests the process of fermentation.
Aperient. A gentle and nonirritating purgative causing but little increase of peristalsis and producing soft feces.
Aphrodisiac. An agent which increases sexual desire, or increases sexual power.
Astringent. An agent which, by acting upon the albumen of tissues, causes condensation and contraction, and restrains discharges.
Bitter. An agent which increases the tone and activity of the gastric mucosa, thereby improving the appetite.
Cardiac. An agent which stimulates and tones the heart; also a cordial or restorative.
Cardiant. An agent which acts upon the heart, either stimulating or depressing its action.
Carminative. An agent that prevents or relieves flatulence and thereby allays pain.
Cathartic. An agent that hastens and increases evacuation of the bowels. Same as Purgative, which see.
Caustic. An agent having an escharotic or corrosive action on living tissue. (Used interchangeably with Cauterant.)
Cauterant. An agent which has a corrosive destructive action upon living tissue.
Cholagogue. A medicine which stimulates and increases the flow of bile.
Corrigent. An agent which favorably modifies the action of powerful or harsh drugs; a correctant or corrective.
Corrosive. An agent destructive to tissue.
Counterirritant. An agent which, by inducing local irritation or hyperaemia, acts as a derivative to relieve irritation, inflammation or pain in some part remote from that to which it is applied.
Cycloplegic. An agent which paralyzes the ciliary muscle, resulting in relaxation of accommodation (cycloplegia).
Dacryagogue. An agent which causes a flow of tears.
Deliriant. A drug which may produce delirium. (Same as Delirifacient, which see.)
Delirifacient. A drug which may cause delirium. (Same as Deliriant, which see.)
Demulcent. A bland and soothing oily or mucilaginous application or medicine to relieve irritation of inflamed or abraded surfaces, usually intended for use upon the mucosa. (See also Emollient.)
Deobstruent. A medicine that removes obstructions.
Deodorant. A substance that masks, removes, or destroys odor.
Depilatory. A substance that removes or destroys hair.
Depressant. An agent that will depress function and vital energies by causing relaxation of muscular tissues and sweating; a medicine that depresses any function.
Depresso-motor. An agent which depresses or diminishes motor activity.
Depurant. A purifying medicine; e. g., a renal depurant.
Detergent. A cleansing or purifying medicine.
Diaphoretic. An agent that will stimulate and cause increased perspiration: a sedative diaphoretic is one that acts by dilation of the vessels of the skin, as when induced by heart sedatives or emetics.
Digestant. An agent, which digests, or assists the digestion of food.
Diluent. An agent that dilutes the fluids of the body and renders the excretions less irritant.
Discutient. A medicine which causes a disappearance or scattering of a local tumefaction or inflammation.
Disinfectant. An agent that prevents, or frees from infection, acting chiefly by destroying pathogenic germs or rendering organic ferments inactive.
Diuretic. A drug which causes and increases secretion and flow of urine.
Drastic. A harsh purgative usually causing pain, tormina or tenesmus, and causing repeated evacuations.
Ecbolic. An agent which excites and accelerates parturition.
Eliminant. A drug which causes evacuations; also one by which soluble compounds are formed of insoluble substances in the body, thus facilitating their removal by the excretory organs.
Eliminator. Same as Eliminant, which see.
Emmenagogue. An agent that stimulates menstruation.
Emetic. An agent that causes vomiting (emesis).
Emollient. A medicine or agent which softens or soothes the skin, or soothes the mucosa, when irritated. (Compare Demulcent.)
Epispastic. An agent which causes blistering (vesication).
Errhine. An agent which excites nasal secretion and sneezing.
Escharotic. A caustic or corrosive agent capable of producing an eschar or slough.
Excitant. A medicine which causes excitation of the vital functions, as of the nervous (nervous excitant), muscular (motor excitant), circulatory (vaso-motor and cardiac excitants) systems.
Excito-motor. An agent which excites to increased muscular activity.
Exhilarant. An agent which excites or elevates the psychic function.
Expectorant. An agent which promotes expectoration; i. e., the ejection, by spitting, of fluids secreted by the broncho-pulmonic mucosa. Stimulant expectorants excite in atony while sedative expectorants allay irritation, both facilitating the expulsion of sputum.
Febrifuge. An agent that will reduce temperature in fevers.
Galactagogue. An agent that stimulates the secretion or promotes the flow of milk.
Galactophyge. An agent that diminishes or arrests the flow of milk.
Germicide. An agent destructive to germs or micro-organisms.
Hematic (haematic). An agent which improves the quality of the blood.
Hematinic (haematinic). An agent which improves the quality of the blood.
Hepatic. A drug that stimulates the function of the liver.
Hydragogue. An agent that causes watery discharge; especially a purge which produces watery catharsis.
Hypnotic. A medicine which induces sleep simulating that of normal slumber. Some pain relievers are also hypnotic, but true hypnotics only cause sleep.
Irritant. An agent which, when applied locally, excites hyperaemia or inflammation.
Laxative. A medicine causing a mild and painless evacuation of the bowels.
Lenitive. A medicine which has the soothing action of a demulcent on the internal membranes.
Lithontriptic. A medicine supposed to be capable of dissolving calculi within the body.
Miotic (myotic). A medicine which causes the pupil to contract (miosis).
Motor depressant. A drug which depresses or restrains motor or muscular activity.
Motor-excitant. A drug which excites to increased motor or muscular activity.
Mydriatic. An agent which dilates the pupil (mydriasis).
Myotic (miotic). An agent which causes contraction of the pupil (myosis).
Narco-hypnotic. An agent that not only causes sleep, but if given in larger doses induces narcosis. (See Narcotic.)
Narcotic. A drug that will induce stuporous sleep, at the same time relieving pain and abolishing consciousness.
Nutriant (nutrient). A medicine which affects the nutritive process, or metabolic changes in the body; one that supplies material for tissue building.
Oxytocic. A drug which accelerates or hastens the process of delivery in childbirth.
Paralyzant. A drug that causes temporary functional paralysis of some part of the body.
Parasiticide. An agent which destroys parasites.
Parturifacient. A medicine that induces or facilitates childbirth.
Partus praeparator. An agent that strengthens preparatory to labor.
Protective. An agent that protects mechanically by covering or coating the skin or a lesion of the surface.
Purgative. A cathartic; an agent that will cause evacuation of the contents of the bowels.
Purge. A purgative medicine, or a dose of the same; to purge.
Pustulant. An agent that attacks isolated areas of the skin, as the sudoriferous glands, causing pustules (pustulation).
Reconstructive. An agent that, through furnishing needed medicinal substances, restores strength and integrity to the body.
Refrigerant. An agent which imparts a cooling sensation to the mucosa and allays thirst; externally it cools by evaporation.
Resinoids. A class of preparations resembling somewhat the resins, and being a mixture of resins with other substances. A name especially applied to a group of substances obtained by precipitating alcoholic preparations containing resins, with water. The so-called Eclectic resinoids were of this class, all of them, with the exception of podophyllin, iridin, and macrotyn, being of little value.
Resolvent. An agent that is supposed to promote resolution, or dissipation of pathologic growths.
Resorbent. An agent that promotes the removal of excreted material, as exudates, etc.
Restorative. An agent that restores to consciousness, or one that aids in restoring tone, function, vigor, or health.
Revulsive. An agent which, by producing a localized determination of blood, reduces other blood engorged areas.
Roborant. An agent that by supplying needed material or food to the tissues, imparts increased strength.
Rubefacient. An agent which, when locally applied, reddens the skin.
Salivant. Same as Salivator, which see.
Salivator. An agent which salivates or causes an excessive flow of saliva.
Sedative. A drug that allays or calms excitement.
Sedative, Arterial or Special. An Eclectic term for Aconite, Veratrum, and Gelsemium, when given in small doses. (See Aconitum or Gelsemium.)
Sialagogue. An agent that promotes an increased flow of saliva.
Somnifacient. An agent which induces sleep; a hypnotic.
Specific. An agent supposed to have a selective curative action in a special disease, or in some phases of disease.
Sternutatory. An agent that excites sneezing.
Stimulant. An agent that excites functional activity. A term often loosely applied. Stimulants are diffusible when they excite the circulation and general functions of the body; nervous, when they act chiefly upon the nerve centers; hepatic, when they arouse the functions of the liver; cardiac, when they increase the heart's action; gastric, when they quicken digestion; respiratory, when they increase respiratory movements; etc. Also applied to medicines in which the action of the contained ethyl alcohol is desired,
Styptic. A local agent that, through a strongly astringent action, will arrest bleeding.
Subculoyds. Non-irritating sterile preparations of plant drugs intended for hypodermatic medication.
Sudorific. An agent that will cause active or droplet perspiration, a more intense action than that of the ordinary diaphoretic.
Synergist. A drug which has a similar effect upon tissue or function to that of some other drug. Synergists usually act harmoniously with such other drugs.
Taeniacide (taenicide). An agent that will kill and expel the tapeworm.
Taenifuge (Taeniafuge). An agent that will expel the tapeworm.
Tonic. An agent which tends to produce or restore normal tone to the functions and tissues of the body.
Vaso-constrictor. A drug which causes constriction of blood vessels.
Vaso-depressant. An agent that, by acting on the vaso-motor or nervous system, will decrease arterial pressure and relax the blood vessels.
Vaso-dilator. A drug which causes dilation of blood vessels.
Vaso-stimulant. An agent which, by acting upon the vasomotor nervous system, will in. crease arterial tension and thereby constrict the blood vessels.
Vermicide. A medicine that will kill intestinal worms.
Vermifuge. A medicine that will cause the expulsion of intestinal worms.
Vesicant. A drug which causes blistering (vesication).

The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.