PROLACTIN
PROSTATE, CANCER OF
P
may occur but usually disappear as
treatment continues.
prolactin A
hormone
produced by the
pituitary gland.
Prolactin helps to stimu-
late the development of the mammary
glands (see
breast),
and to initiate and
maintain milk production for
breast-
feeding.
(See also
prolactinoma.)
prolactinoma A noncancerous tumour
of the
pituitary gland
that causes over-
production of
prolactin.
In women, this
may result in
galactorrhoea
,
amenor-
rhoea
, or
infertility
. In men, it may cause
impotence
and
gynaecomastia
. In either
sex, it may cause headaches,
diabetes
insipidus
, and, if the tumour presses on
the optic nerves, loss of the outer
visual
field
. Diagnosis is made from
blood tests
and
CT scanning
or
MRI
of the brain.
Treatment may involve removal of the
tumour,
radiotherapy
, or giving the drug
bromocriptine
.
prolapse Displacement of part or all of
an organ or tissue from its normal posi-
tion in the body (see
uterus, prolapse of;
disc prolapse
).
promazine A
phenothiazine-type anti-
psychotic drug
used as a sedative drug.
Possible adverse effects include abnor-
mal movements of the face and limbs,
drowsiness, lethargy, dry mouth, consti-
pation, and blurred vision. Long-term
treatment may cause
parkinsonism.
promethazine An
antihistamine drug
used to relieve itching in a variety of
skin conditions, such as
eczema
. It is
also used as an
antiemetic drug
, and
sometimes as a
premedication
. Possible
adverse
effects
include
dry mouth,
blurred vision, and drowsiness.
pronation The act of turning the body
to a prone (facedown) position, or the
hand to a palm backwards position.
propantheline An
antispasmodic drug
used to treat
irritable bowel syndrome
and forms of
urinary incontinence
. Pos-
sible adverse effects include dry mouth,
blurred vision, and retention of urine.
prophylactic A drug, procedure, or piece
of equipment used to prevent disease;
also a
condom
.
propranolol A
beta-blocker drug
used
to treat
hypertension
,
angina pectoris
,
and cardiac
arrhythmias
. It may also be
used to reduce the risk of further heart
damage after
myocardial infarction.
It
relieves symptoms of
hyperthyroidism
and
anxiety
and can prevent
migraine
attacks. Possible adverse effects are
typical of other beta-blocker drugs.
proprietary A term for a drug patented
for production by one company.
proprioception The body's internal sys-
tem for collecting information about its
position and the state of contraction of
its muscles. Information from proprio-
ceptors (sensory nerve endings in the
muscles, tendons, joints, and the inner
ear) passes to the spinal cord and the
brain. The information is used to make
adjustments so that posture and bal-
ance are maintained.
proptosis A term for protrusion.
propylthiouracil A drug used to treat
hyperthyroidism
or to control its symp-
toms before a
thyroidectomy
. Possible
adverse effects include itching, head-
ache, rash, joint pain, and decreased
production of white
blood cells.
prostaglandin One of a group of
fatty
acids
that is made naturally in the body
and acts in a similar way to
hormones
.
Prostaglandins cause pain and inflam-
mation in damaged tissue, protect the
lining of the stomach and duodenum
against ulceration, lower blood pressure,
and stimulate contractions in labour.
(See also
prostaglandin drugs.)
prostaglandin drugs Synthetically pro-
duced
prostaglandins
. Dinoprostone is
used with
oxytocin
for
induction of
labour
. Gemeprost softens and helps to
dilate the cervix prior to inducing an
abortion
. Alprostadil is used to treat
newborn infants awaiting surgery for
some congenital heart diseases.
prostate, cancer of A cancerous growth
in the
prostate gland,
of unknown cause.
One of the most common cancers in
men, it mainly occurs in elderly men.
An enlarged prostate (see
prostate, en-
larged
) may cause symptoms including
difficulty in starting to pass urine, poor
urine flow, and increased frequency of
urination. Urine flow may eventually
cease altogether. When there are no uri-
nary symptoms, the first sign may be
pain in the bones from secondary cancers.
Screening tests detect blood levels of a
protein called prostate specific antigen;
466
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