Drug (Medication) Dictionary Details

Use our drug profile search engine to review information about current FDA approved medications for the treatment of Cancer, Rheumatoid, GI and other health conditions.

Drugs or medications may be referred to by different names. Typically, when a drug is first approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use, the tradename selected by the manufacturer is used. However, the same agent may also be referred to by its chemical name. Once the original manufacturers patent on the drug has expired, other manufacturers, with FDA approval, are allowed to produce and market the same chemical compound which is typically referred to as a "generic" form of the original. Sometimes these manufacturers will market the generic form under a new tradename to help identify it in the marketplace. Finally, the actual chemical name of the compound is sometimes used by medical professionals rather than the tradename or generic name.

What are Biosimilars?

A new class of drugs called biosimilars is becoming increasingly available to consumers. Though these medications are very similar to already available drugs known as biologics, biosimilars are just now beginning to receive approval from the U.S. FDA.

To understand biosimilars and how they work, it's important to first understand their predecessors, biologics. These drugs are approved by the FDA and used in treatment of a wide range of conditions and illnesses, from rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to various forms of cancer as well as allergy shots and vaccines. Biologics are made from living organisms, including human sources, animals, bacteria, and yeast. Their makeup is incredibly complex, as is their development process.

A drug qualifies as a biosimilar if it is very similar to a FDA-approved biologic-similar in how it's composed, how it works, and its safety. The preceding biologic drug is often called a reference medicine.

Biosimilars are different from generic medicines. Whereas generics and the original (trademarked) drug have identical active ingredients, such exact replication isn't possible due to the complexity of biologics. As a result, biosimilars are similar to the reference medicine, but not identical. They must have very similar treatment outcomes and safety profiles to the biologic.

Our drug dictionary is organized by alphabet, including both generic and trade names. Alternately, you may view a list of drugs by "class".

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How to Manage Pain with Intercourse and Vaginal Dryness After Breast Cancer Treatment

If you’ve undergone treatment for breast cancer with chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, you may have experienced changes in sexual function, a side effect that can impact both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Changes that may affect sexual function for premenopausal women can include irregular menstrual cycles and menopause and related symptoms, while both premenopausal and postmenopausal women can experience reduced sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and inflammation of the vaginal lining that results in burning and redness. Although sexual dysfunction is a difficult side effect to cope with, the following approaches can help you manage your symptoms and once again enjoy intimacy:

  • Topical anesthetics may be helpful for patients with severe pain. The most common preparation is 5% lidocaine ointment, which is applied at least one hour prior to intercourse. These anesthetics have no effect on sexual pleasure, however, so over-the-counter lubricants may also be recommended; these include Replens®, K-Y® lubricants, Vagisil®, Astroglide®, Pre-Seed®, Femglide®, and others.
  • Low-dose vaginal estrogen therapy may help control vaginal dryness and sexual pain, though their use for breast cancer patients is controversial due to concerns that estrogen may raise risk for recurrence. Some sexually active breast cancer survivors, however, were more comfortable using vaginal estrogen treatment when closely monitored, as this method results in less systemic estrogen absorption than the oral or skin route (patch). There have been no clinical studies showing an adverse effect on survival or recurrence of cancer with vaginal estrogen use in breast cancer survivors. Vagifem® (estradiol vaginal tablets) and Estring® (estradiol vaginal ring) are preferred over vaginal estrogen creams by patients; both agents have demonstrated a 90% improvement in atrophic symptoms.

Active management of sexual dysfunction after breast cancer treatment may further help alleviate symptoms by allowing survivors to enjoy regular sexual activity, which can have its own therapeutic effects: regular sexual activity has been shown to improve vaginal atrophy by stimulating blood flow to the area.

Through their fundraising project, Steppin’ Out, the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) supports research in gynecologic cancer and gynecologic complications of cancer treatment.

Steppin’ Out: A Project to Benefit the GOG’s New Horizons GYN Cancer Research Fund

GOG established the New Horizons GYN Cancer Research Fund to fund worthwhile research projects in gynecologic cancer. Although the GOG receives funding from the National Cancer Institute, many worthy research projects are not undertaken because there is not adequate financial support. The New Horizons GYN Cancer Research Fund will help offset the cost of these projects.

To support the fund, the GOG is launching a program called Steppin’ Out. For a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more, you will receive a sterling-silver high-heel charm. There is also a gold charm available for special order.

Additional information is available at http://www.gog.org/steppinout.html.