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In medicine, a course of medication is a period of continuous treatment with a drug, sometimes with variable dosage. Treatment with some drugs should not end abruptly. Instead, their course should end with a tapering dosage.
- Taking the full course of antibiotics is important to prevent reinfection and/or development of drug-resistant bacteria.
- For both short-term and long-term steroid treatment, when stopping treatment, the dosage is tapered rather than abruptly ended. This permits the adrenal glands to resume the body's natural produdction of cortisol. Abrupt discontinuation can result in adrenal insufficiency; and/or steroid withdrawal syndrome — a rebound effect in which exaggerated symptoms return.
Another meaning in medicine is the course of a disease, a description of the speed of evolution of the disease. Diseases can have an acute, a subacute, a chronic or a recurrent course. A fulminant course is a particularly severe and rapid acute course. A patient can be at the beginning, the middle or the end of the disease's course.
Course of medication
Course of disease
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