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    Definitions beginning with the letter A



    Actonel® (risedronate) is a third generation bisphosphonate makes bones less fracture- prone by inhibiting the action of cells involved in bone degradation and loss. It is recommended for the treatment and prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis and for the treatment of Paget's disease.


    AFSSAPS stands for Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Produits de Santé, the French agency responsible for ensuring the effectiveness, quality and proper use of all healthcare products intended for human use.

    Allegra® / Telfast®

    Allegra® (fexofenadine) is a non-sedating antihistamine for seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and the skin condition chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives).

    Amaryl® / Amarel® / Amaryl® M / Co Amarel®

    Amaryl® (glimepiride) is an orally administered once-daily hypoglycemic sulfonylurea indicated in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, in association with exercise and a controlled diet.

    Antiarrhythmic agents

    Drugs for treating heart rate disorders and/or prevent recurrence. Depending on their electrophysiologic properties, there are 4 classes of antiarrhythmic drugs:

    • class I : quinidine, disopyramide, flecaine ...
    • class II : beta blockers,
    • class III : Cordarone® and sotalol,
    • class IV : calcium channel-blocking agents.       

    It should be noted that apart from its class III effects, Cordarone® has class I, class II and class IV effects which explains its superiority over the other antiarrhythmic drugs.

    Anti-cancer, cytotoxic or antineoplastic agents

    Drugs used for patients with cancer with or without surgical treatment and/or radiotherapy to prevent the proliferation of malignant cells.

    These are mainly agents that interact with the DNA (standard alkylating agents, organoplatinum, methyl donors) and antimetabolic agents (folic acid, purine and pyrimidine antagonists).


    Antithrombotic drugs that act by inhibiting the coagulation factors. In common medical practice this mainly involves:

    • heparins (standard heparin and more recently low molecular weight heparin) administered parenterally (subcutaneous and intravenous administration) that are quickly active.
    • oral anticoagulants administered orally and with slower action.


    Drugs intended to restore the glycemic balance for diabetic patients. This involves insulin administered by subcutaneous injection and antidiabetics administered orally (hypoglycemic sulfonamides, biguanides, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors).


    Drugs intended to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. These are mainly barbiturates, benzodiazepine compounds, carbamazepine, phenytoin sodium, valproïc acid and more recently gabapentine, lamotrigine, vigabatrin, oxcarbazepine, topiramate and tiagabine.

    Some represent first line therapy drugs: they may be prescribed straightaway and as the only treatment (monotherapy) for a newly diagnosed patient.

    Others represent second-line therapy drugs: they are only prescribed after the failure of an initial treatment and are either used as an alternative to this first treatment (monotherapy), or alongside this first treatment (dual therapy).


    Drugs intended to reduce arterial pressure and if possible standardise it in order to avoid the cardiovascular, renal and cerebral complications of essential hypertension.

    These are diuretics, beta blockers, calcium channel-blocking agents, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, central antihypertensives, peripheral vasodilatator and very recently angiotensin II receptor agonists.


    Drugs intended to treat thrombosis in the blood-vessels (arteries and veins), mainly classified under 3 types of treatent: platelet aggregation inhibiting drugs, anticoagulants and fibrinolytics (or thrombolytics).


    Drugs intended to reduce anxiety.

    Firstly these involve benzodiazepine compounds, but also carbamates, barbiturates, antihistaminics, and serotoninergic 5HT1A receptor agonists.

    Apart from their anxiolytic effect, depending on the molecule benzodiazepine compounds may have the following pharmacological properties in varying degrees: anxiolytic, sedative, muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant.


    Apidra® (insuline glulisine) is an analog of human insulin produced by fast acting genetical engineering. It is indicated for the treatment of adults with type 1 and in type 2 diabetes and administered by subcutaneous injection.

    Aprovel® / Avapro® / Karvea®

    Aprovel® (irbesartan) is an anti-hypertensive medicine indicated in the first-line treatment of hypertension.


    Term used to describe heart rate anomalies. There are many different types of anomalies (frequency, regularity, abnormal contractions etc.) and with diverse clinical expressions. They may lead to an acceleration in the heart rate (tachycardia) or a slowing of the heart rate (bradycardia). They all interfere with the efficiency of the heart pump.

    These disorders of the heart rate generally arise among patients with a pre-existing heart disease: ischemic heart disease in the case of atherosclerosis, hypertensive heart disease in the case of essential hypertension, valvular heart disease etc.

    Arteritis of the lower limbs or arteriopathy obstructing the lower limbs

    Complaint linked to the presence of atherosclerotic lesions in the arteries of the lower limbs. The first symptom is intermittent claudication, i.e. a pain in the calves that arises during walking and ceases when walking stops.


    Disease of the arteries linked to the build-up of lipids (fats) in the walls with the formation of atheromatous plaque which contracts the lumen of these vessels. These stenoses may result in the occlusion of the artery generally by a thrombosis mechanism and cause ischemic vascular accidents.