Antiarrhythmic Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 8th, 2018

Pharmacology of Antiarrhythmic Drugs Antiarrhythmic drugs are medicines used to address abnormal heart rhythms. Here, we review the major antiarrhythmic drug classes and how they work. We also learn more about what each class is used to treat. In this guide, we examine the mechanistic pharmacology of antiarrhythmic drugs. Later articles detail clinical aspects – […]

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Alpha Blockers Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 7th, 2018

Pharmacology of Alpha Blockers Alpha blockers are used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Here, we review its members, how they work, what side effects they have as well as what clinical features they’re associated with. Alpha blockers are divided into three classes: Non-selective alpha blockers – phenoxybenzamine, phentolamine Alpha-1 selective – […]

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Digoxin Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 6th, 2018

Pharmacology of Digoxin Digoxin is a medicine used in the treatment of various heart conditions. Here, we review what digoxin is, how it works, what side effects its linked to, as well as a variety of other clinical considerations and drug interactions. Digoxin was first isolated from the foxglove plant, Digitalis lanata, in 1930. Digoxin […]

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Glaucoma Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 5th, 2018

Pharmacology of Glaucoma Glaucoma affects up to 60 million people worldwide. Left untreated, it leads to permanent loss of vision. Medications are available though, which serve to decrease intraocular pressure and progression of the disease. There are three main categories of glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma Closed-angle glaucoma Normal tension glaucoma Open-angle glaucoma is the most common […]

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Epinephrine Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 5th, 2018

Pharmacology of Epinephrine Epinephrine is used in cases of cardiac arrest, in anaphylaxis and to prolong the effects of local anesthetics. Here, we review its indications, mechanism of action, side effects and drug interactions – establishing its wider role in medicine. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a serious medicine used in many serious clinical contexts. It is […]

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ADP Receptor Inhibitors Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 4th, 2018

Pharmacology of ADP Receptor Inhibitors ADP receptor inhibitors are a class of antiplatelet drugs used to treat a variety of cardiovascular thrombotic events. Here, we review its members, their mechanism of action, and their side effect and drug interaction profiles. Examples of ADP receptor inhibitors include: Clopidogrel Prasugrel Ticagrelor ADP receptor inhibitors are used to […]

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Tuberculosis Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 4th, 2018

Pharmacology of Tuberculosis Drugs Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Here, we review the first-line drugs used to treat tuberculosis – their mechanism of action, side effect profiles and other clinical considerations. This is not intended as a complete clinical guide on how to manage the infection. Here, our focus is […]

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Atypical Antipsychotics Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 3rd, 2018

Pharmacology of Atypical Antipsychotics Atypical antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and to treat severe psychomotor agitation. Here, we review the various medicines – their mechanism of action, side effects and drug interaction profiles. Antipsychotics are typically divided into “typical” and “atypical antipsychotics”. “Typical” antipsychotics are often classified as the first-generation, whereas atypical […]

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Beta-2 Agonists Pharmacology | All the Facts You Need to Know!

September 2nd, 2018

Pharmacology of Beta-2 Agonists Beta-2 agonists are medicines used in the treatment of asthma, COPD and hyperkalemia. Here, we review the primary members, how they work, and what side effects and drug interactions the medicines are linked to. Beta-2 agonists are primarily used to treat respiratory disorders. For example, they are used to treat: Asthma […]

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Dopamine Agonists Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 2nd, 2018

Introduction Dopamine agonists are used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. Here, we review dopamine agonists in the context of Parkinson’s disease, fleshing out their mechanism of action, side effects and drug interaction profiles. Parkinson’s disease is named after the English physician, James Parkinson, who, in 1817, first described an account […]

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Azathioprine Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 1st, 2018

Pharmacology of Azathioprine Azathioprine is an immunosuppressant medicine. As such, it is used to treat a wide variety of disease states. Here, we review those indications as well as how azathioprine works, and what side effects and drug interactions it is associated with. Azathioprine is marketed under Azasan and Imuran, among other trademarks. It is […]

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Infliximab Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

September 1st, 2018

Pharmacology of Infliximab Infliximab is an important medicine used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Here, we outline what the drug is used for, how it works, and what side effects and drug interactions its linked to. Infliximab belongs to a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies. […]

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Azole Antifungals Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 31st, 2018

Pharmacology of Azole Antifungals Azole antifungals are among the most widely prescribed antifungal drugs. They are used in the treatment of a wide and diverse range of fungal infections. Here, we review those indications, how azoles work and what side effects and interactions they’re linked to. Broadly speaking, azole antifungal drugs are used to treat […]

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Amphotericin B Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 30th, 2018

Pharmacology of Amphotericin B Antifungal drugs – also known as antimycotic drugs – are medicines used to treat fungal infections; amphotericin B being one prominent example. Here, we review indications, mechanism of action, side effects and drug interactions of this important medicine. Amphotericin B is one of the most powerful antifungal drugs; a drug most […]

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Thrombolytic Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 30th, 2018

Pharmacology of Thrombolytic Drugs Thrombolytic drugs are used to initiate thrombolysis – the destruction of blood clots. With this mechanism, thrombolytic drugs are used in conditions such as stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism to eliminate blood clots and restore normal blood flow. Thrombolytic drugs are also known as fibrinolytic drugs. Regardless of their name, […]

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Antimicrotubule Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 28th, 2018

What are Antimicrotubule Drugs? Antimicrotubule drugs are used in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers. They are plant-derived medicines that disrupt microtubule function; microtubules being polymers of tubulin that form part of the cytoskeleton of cells. In the treatment of cancer, there are two main classes of antimicrotubule drugs: Vinca alkaloids – vincristine, […]

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Alkylating Agents Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 28th, 2018

Pharmacology of Alkylating Agents Alkylating agents are a class of medicines used to treat various kinds of cancer. There are many different alkylating agents – some “classic”, others “alkylating-like”, and still others “non-classical”. Here, we review all major alkylating agent drug classes. The history of alkylating agents finds its roots in the First World War. […]

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Triptans Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 27th, 2018

Pharmacology of Triptans Triptans are medicines used in the treatment of migraine and cluster headaches. They are not used to prevent either of these conditions, nor are they considered a cure. However, they do provide significant symptomatic treatment. Triptans have been around since the 1990s. Sumatriptan, the first FDA approved triptan, was made available to […]

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HIV Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 21st, 2018

Introduction HIV – or human immunodeficiency virus – is a lentivirus that causes HIV infection. Over time, this can lead to the development of AIDS, or acquired autoimmune deficiency syndrome. While there is no cure, treatment options are available. There are two types of HIV – type 1 and type 2. Most cases of HIV […]

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Ciclosporin Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 19th, 2018

Pharmacology of Ciclosporin Ciclosporin – also spelled cyclosporine – is an immunosuppressant medicine used to prevent organ transplant rejection. It may also be used to reduce inflammation in patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. First isolated from the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum in 1971, Ciclosporin was first approved for medical use in 1983. […]

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Quinine Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 18th, 2018

Pharmacology of Quinine Quinine is an important medicine in the treatment of malaria. While it has been touted as a potential treatment for restless legs syndrome, it should not be taken for this purpose – not least due to its side effect profile and increased risk of death. Malaria is a serious illness brought on […]

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Glycopeptides Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 18th, 2018

Pharmacology of Glycopeptides Glycopeptides are used in the treatment of Gram-positive bacterial infections. They remain an important class in the treatment of serious infections where other medicines have proven insufficient or ineffective. Examples of glycopeptides include: Vancomycin Teicoplanin Telavancin Glycopeptides are used in the treatment of the following infections: Complicated skin infections Bloodstream infections Endocarditis […]

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Thyroid Hormones Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 17th, 2018

Pharmacology of Thyroid Hormones Thyroid hormones are used to treat primary hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism secondary to hypopituitarism. Here, we review two hormones – levothyroxine and liothyronine – in the treatment of these two disease states. The thyroid gland is responsible for a variety of metabolic and cognitive processes. In states of hypothyroidism – also known […]

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Z-Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 17th, 2018

Pharmacology of Z-Drugs Z-drugs are used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. Up to half of people experience substantial insomnia each year, making it one of the most common symptoms and one of the most common causes of GP visits. Because Z-drugs cause sedation, they are also known as hypnotic drugs. Examples of Z-drugs include: […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 16th, 2018

Pharmacology of Alzheimers disease First described by the German pathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that afflicts approximately 30 million people worldwide. Medicines are only used to manage symptoms of the disease, as there is currently no cure. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for almost two-thirds […]

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Aminosalicylates Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 16th, 2018

Pharmacology of Aminosalicylates Aminosalicylates are medicines used predominantly in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Here, we review the role of aminosalicyates in the treatment of inflammatory disorders – how they work, what side effects they cause, and what they interact with. Examples of aminosalicylates include: Mesalamine – also known as mesalazine, or 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) […]

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Antiemetics Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 15th, 2018

Pharmacology of Antiemetic Drugs Antiemetic drugs are medicines used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting. Some drugs are used entirely as prophylactics, whereas other are used to directly treat nausea and vomiting. Below, we review the pharmacology of the major antiemetic drug classes. For the purposes of this guide, we will review antiemetic drugs […]

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Metronidazole Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 15th, 2018

Pharmacology of Metronidazole Metronidazole is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial and protozoal infections. It was first introduced in France in 1960 and has, since then, gone on to become one of the most important antimicrobial medicines. Metronidazole is used in the treatment of the following infections: Clostridium difficile colitis Gynecological infections – […]

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PDE5 Inhibitors Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 14th, 2018

Introduction to PDE5 Inhibitors Pharmacology Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors – or PDE5 inhibitors – are used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and primary pulmonary hypertension. Here, we review the essential pharmacology that you need to know. Examples of PDE5 inhibitors include: Sildenafil Tadalafil Vardenafil All three medicines are used to treat erectile function. Sildenafil […]

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Typical Antipsychotic Drugs Pharmacology

August 14th, 2018

Introduction to Typical Antipsychotic Drugs “Typical” antipsychotic drugs are also known as first-generation antipsychotics. They were first developed in the 1950s to treat psychosis but have since gone on to treat conditions such as mania, agitation, bipolar disorder and as antiemetic drugs. Typical antipsychotic drugs differ from later, atypical psychotics, in that the latter were […]

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Penicillins Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 14th, 2018

Introduction to Penicillins Pharmacology Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by the Scottish microbiologist, Alexander Fleming, though it wasn’t until 1942 that these medicines were used publicly. The class has since gone on to become one of the most widely used antibacterial drug classes. The onset of bacterial resistance has dampened their therapeutic potential, though they […]

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Nitrofurantoin Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 13th, 2018

Introduction to Nitrofurantoin Pharmacology Nitrofurantoin – marketed under names such as Macrodantin and Macrobid – is used in the treatment of bladder infections. It is not effective at treating kidney infections. Here, we learn more about the essential facts behind nitrofurantoin pharmacology. Interest in nitrofurantoin has increased in recent years. Previously, fluoroquinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole were […]

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TCAs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 13th, 2018

Introduction to TCAs Pharmacology TCAs are used in the treatment of depression, hence their name – tricyclic antidepressants. They are also used in the treatment of neuropathic pain, even though they are not strictly licensed for this indication. Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include: Amitriptyline Nortriptyline Maprotiline (often classified as tetracyclic) Dosulepin (not available in US) […]

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Acetaminophen Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 13th, 2018

Introduction Acetaminophen (or paracetamol / APAP) was first discovered in 1877 and has since gone on to become one of the world’s most widely used medicines in the treatment of pain and fever. Here, we review the essential facts about acetaminophen pharmacology that you need to know. Unlike NSAIDs, acetaminophen does not have significant anti-inflammatory […]

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Genitourinary Antimuscarinics Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 13th, 2018

Genitourinary Antimuscarinics Antimuscarinic drugs are, because of their mechanism of action, used in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions. Here, we talk about antimuscarinic drugs in the context of genitourinary medicine. Antimuscarinics are used in the treatment of the following genitourinary conditions: Reduction of urinary frequency and urgency Reduction of urge incontinence in […]

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Benzodiazepines Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 12th, 2018

Introduction to Benzodiazepines Pharmacology Benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed classes of medicines. They are used in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions – from anxiety to seizures – not least because of their mechanism of action. Today, we review the essential and relevant facts that underpin benzodiazepines pharmacology. The first benzodiazepine, […]

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Laxatives Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 12th, 2018

Laxatives Pharmacology Laxatives are medicines used in the treatment and prevention of constipation. They work to loosen stools and speed the transition of contents through the bowel. There are three main classes of laxative: Bulk-forming Osmotic Stimulant In this guide, we go through each of these classes in turn – reviewing their indications, mechanism, side […]

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Antihypertensive Drugs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

August 3rd, 2018

Antihypertensive drugs are used in the treatment of high blood pressure. Hypertension is not an insignificant diagnosis. It is linked to a substantially increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Studies show, though, that even a modest reduction in blood pressure can slash those risks by as much as a third. That’s where antihypertensive drugs […]

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Methotrexate Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 30th, 2018

Pharmacology of Methotrexate Methotrexate is a medicine used to treat a wide variety of indications. First introduced as an anticancer agent in the 1940s, it quickly went on to become a staple drug in the treatment of autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, methotrexate use is not without risk. It comes with […]

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Fluoroquinolones Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 29th, 2018

Pharmacology of Fluoroquinolones Quinolones have been around since the 1960s – with the introduction of nalidixic acid to treat urinary tract infections. Quinolones in modern use are fluoroquinolones – examples of which include ciprofloxacin and moxifloxacin. Fluoroquinolones are broad-spectrum antibacterial agents – used to treat a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative infections. However, they are […]

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Aminoglycosides Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 29th, 2018

Pharmacology of Aminoglycosides Aminoglycosides are among the most widely used antibacterial drugs. They have, through the introduction of Streptomycin, been around since the 1940s. Though bacterial resistance continues to increase, they remain an important antibacterial class. Aminoglycosides are used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections – most effective against aerobic, Gram-negative infections (including […]

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Macrolides Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 28th, 2018

Pharmacology of Macrolides Macrolides are among the most widely prescribed antibacterial drug classes; an effective drug class with activity against a broad range of organisms. Macrolide antibacterial drugs have been around since the 1950s and have, since that time, proved enormously successful at treating bacterial infections. Examples of popularly prescribed macrolides include: Erythromycin Clarithromycin Azithromycin […]

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Tetracyclines Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 27th, 2018

Pharmacology of Tetracyclines Tetracyclines are among the most widely prescribed antibacterial agents. They are used to treat a wide variety of infections – both minor and serious. Tetracyclines have been around since the 1940s. However, their efficacy has gone into decline, not least due to the ever-present threat of resistance. Nonetheless, they remain a commonly […]

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Diabetes Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 24th, 2018

Pharmacology of Diabetes Diabetes affects more than 30 million people throughout the United States. Millions more are thought to have the condition but are currently undiagnosed. With an obesity epidemic growing at an alarming rate, these statistics are expected to rise precipitously in the coming years. Diabetes management is about more than medicines, though. Lifestyle […]

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Bisphosphonates Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 23rd, 2018

Pharmacology of Bisphosphonates Bisphosphonates are medicines used in the treatment of bone disorders. For example – they can be used to treat osteoporosis, Paget’s disease of bone and hypercalcemia caused by the presence or otherwise of malignancy. Bisphosphonates remain an important medicinal class; a drug class first developed, at least in their modern form, throughout […]

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Opioids Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 22nd, 2018

Pharmacology of Opioids Opioids are an important class of medicines. They are predominantly used in the treatment of pain – mild, moderate and severe – depending on which opioid is prescribed and for what indication. We are going to examine opioids pharmacology according to the following classification: Weak opioids – Codeine, dihydrocodeine, tramadol (moderate pain) […]

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Corticosteroids Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 21st, 2018

Pharmacology of Corticosteroids Corticosteroids are an important class of medicines. They are used to treat a wide variety of disorders – including allergic, inflammatory and malignant disorders – and so remain a vital and relevant drug class in the clinical setting. There are two classes of corticosteroid – glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid. Glucocorticoids are responsible for […]

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NSAIDs Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 20th, 2018

Pharmacology of NSAIDs NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – medicines predominantly used in the treatment of pain, fever and inflammation. Though NSAIDs are effective at treating these specified indications, they are also linked to a wide array of serious side effects and manifold drug interactions – many of which we explore below. First though, let’s […]

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The Art of an Effective Medication Review

March 19th, 2018

Medication Review There is an art to an effective medication review. I’ve worked extensively in both long-term care and primary care – wading through the daily challenge of identifying and, more importantly, solving medication-related problems. Here’s a sample problem that I was recently asked: Case Study – Weight Gain I have a patient concerned about […]

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H2 Antagonists Pharmacology | All the Facts in One Place!

March 19th, 2018

Pharmacology of H2 Receptor Antagonists H2 receptor antagonists are among the most widely prescribed gastrointestinal drug classes; medicines used to treat symptoms and conditions caused by excessive gastric acid production. H2 antagonists used to be first-line agents in the treatment of gastric acid conditions, until they were superseded by the more effective proton-pump inhibitors. The […]

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