is not used as a food. Drugs are used on or administered 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, and therapeutic.
Drugs normally have three different names: chemical, generic, and trade (brand).
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 chapter.
Antacids are drugs used to counteract hyperacidity in the stomach. Normally, there is a certain degree of acidity in the stomach. An excess of acid can irritate the mucous membranes and is commonly known as indigestion, heartburn, 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 patients on a low sodium diet.
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. Prolonged 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 60 ml.
Laxative dose is 15 to 30 ml.
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.
ACTION AND USE. Alumina and magnesia oral suspension coats the stomach lining and neutralizes gastric acid. It is less constipating than aluminum hydroxide alone.