is not used as a food. Drugs are used on or ad-
ministered to humans or animals as an aid in the
diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease or
other abnormal condition, for the relief of pain
or suffering, or to control or improve any
physiologic or pathologic condition. A drug may
be classified in various categories, depending upon
different criteria. Examples are general, chemical,
GeneralDrugs are grouped according to
their source, whether animal, vegetable, or
mineral in origin.
ChemicalMedications are grouped by
their chemical characteristics. Examples
are acids, bases, or salts.
are classified according to their action on
the body. A drug may have more than one
normally have three different
generic, and trade (brand).
Chemical nameTells the chemical and
molecular structure. An example is 2, 4,
Generic nameOften derived from the
chemical name, it is the common name of
the drug. An example is Triamterene. Note
the underlining of the chemical name
Trade nameThis is the name given by the
manufacturer and is a proprietary name,
it is also called the brand name. An exam-
ple is Dyrenium, a brand of triamterene
made by Smith, Kline, and French.
The drugs discussed in this chapter are those
in common use, or are in the Medical Stock List,
and are grouped according to pharmacological
classes. Only a brief summary is possible here and
the corpsman who desires a more complete study
of each drug should refer to the USP-NF or other
reference books indicated at the end of this
Antacids are drugs used to counteract
hyperacidity in the stomach. Normally, there is
a certain degree of acidity in the stomach. An ex-
cess of acid can irritate the mucous membranes
and is commonly known as indigestion, heart-
burn, or dyspepsia. In some disease states, the
gastrointestinal tract may become excessively
acidic (very low pH), causing diarrhea or leading
to peptic ulcer formation. Antacids may interfere
with the bodys ability to utilize many drugs. For
this reason, most oral drugs should not be taken
within 2 hours of taking an antacid. NOTE: As
a hospital corpsman, it is important to be aware
of the significance of the sodium content of most
antacids, particularly in the cardiac patient or pa-
tients on a low sodium diet.
Magnesium Hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia
ACTION AND USE. Milk of magnesia
reacts with gastric acid to form magnesium
chloride and has a prolonged duration of action.
It is preferably taken on an empty stomach with
lots of fluid. Do not use when abdominal pain,
nausea, or vomiting is present. Shake well. Pro-
longed use may result in kidney stones. It also has
a laxative effect.
USUAL DOSE. 5 to 10 ml four to six times
a day, up to a maximum of
is 15 to 30 ml.
Aluminum Hydroxide Gel
60 ml. Laxative dose
ACTION AND USE. This drug is used in
the management of peptic ulcer, gastritis, and
gastric hyperacidity. The major advantage of this
drug is that no systemic alkalosis is produced. It
may cause constipation.
USUAL DOSE. 15 ml four to six times daily
between meals and at bedtime.
Alumina and Magnesia Oral Suspension
ACTION AND USE. Alumina and mag-
nesia oral suspension coats the stomach lining and
neutralizes gastric acid. It is less constipating than
aluminum hydroxide alone.