Learn drugs by their class.

  1. The mechanism of action for the class of drug.

  2. Properties or effects that are common to all drugs in the class.

  3. Is (are) the drug(s) the drug of choice for some disorder or symptom?

  4. Name recognition—what drugs are in this class?

  5. Unique features about single drugs in the class.

  6. Are there any side effects (rare or not) that may be fatal?

  7. Drug interactions.

  8. Rare side effects or actions that are common to all drugs in the class.

  9. Rare side effects or actions for single drugs in the class.

  10. Percentage of drug that is metabolized versus renal excretion.

  11. Half-life of each drug in the class.

  12. Teratogenicity of each drug in the class.

  13. Structure of each drug in the class.

+++++++++++++++++

Because the drug of choice is often very important to know However, these are subject to change, so you should confirm that the drug is still the drug of choice during class or from your textbook. Fatal side effects, even if rare, are important to know for your patients’ safety.

++++++

Name recognition is a slightly different matter. From my own experience as well as that of many medical students, when an unfamiliar drug name appears in an exam, panic sets in and the question is usually skipped or answered incorrectly. However, if the drug class is known, often the question becomes simple. I recommend to students who are having trouble with drug name recognition to make flash cards (or lists) with only the drug name on one side and the drug class on the other side. Skip the easy ones. Quiz yourself during breakfast or during breaks between classes. As you learn the drugs, take them off your list or remove the card from the stack. Occasionally put these names back and review all together. If you only get a few more questions right on an examination or on the boards, or have to look up one less drug after rounds, the few minutes that this takes will have been worth it.

 

Textbooks are usually not helpful in guiding students in making these decisions because of the way they are organized. They give general information about the pathophysiology or the drug class, followed by details about each individual agent in the class. It is very useful when you need to go back and look up a detail about a drug. It is not, however, as useful for the beginning student who must start from scratch to learn the information.

 

 

 

  1. The mechanism of action for the class of drug.

  2. Properties or effects that are common to all drugs in the class.

  3. Is (are) the drug(s) the drug of choice for some disorder or symptom?

  4. Name recognition—what drugs are in this class?

  5. Unique features about single drugs in the class.

  6. Are there any side effects (rare or not) that may be fatal?

  7. Drug interactions.

  8. Rare side effects or actions that are common to all drugs in the class.

  9. Rare side effects or actions for single drugs in the class.

  10. Percentage of drug that is metabolized versus renal excretion.

  11. Half-life of each drug in the class.

  12. Teratogenicity of each drug in the class.

  13. Structure of each drug in the class.

 

 

 

 

Provide a way to organize and condense the amount of material that needs to be memorized. In addition, certain concepts and definitions will be explained. Along the way we will need to review some biochemistry and physiology, reinforcing previously learned concepts.

This book is organized so that the reader can read the highlights and decide whether or not to read the more detailed description. Information in the boxes is key. If you know the information in the box, skip to the next one. If you don’t know the information, read the text that follows it. This book is intended to help you organize your study and avoid any extra hours spent on less important trivia, so you should approach the book in the same way.

Some drug names appear in capital letters. Although somewhat of an arbitrary choice, these drug names seem to be the most important to know. If you have time and energy to learn only three names in a particular drug class, learn the ones that appear in capital letters. Because students are expected to know only generic names of drugs, only generic names are used throughout this text. Trade names are given in the index.

Usually this means grouping drugs and making associations.

The best approach is to learn drugs by their class.

New drugs will be introduced during your lifetime and even during your training, so it is necessary to develop a flexible framework for drug information.

Many students try to memorize everything about a drug and end up remembering the most trivial facts and forgetting the most important ones. From a student’s perspective, it is often very difficult to know what a priority is and what can be skipped. Textbooks are usually not helpful in guiding students in making these decisions because of the way they are organized. They give general information about the pathophysiology or the drug class, followed by details about each individual agent in the class. This is an efficient way to be thorough, and it is very useful when you need to go back and look up a detail about a drug. It is not, however, as useful for the beginning student who must start from scratch to learn the information.

To help you decide what is the most important information, I have developed a trivia sorter.

Trivia Sorter: Generic

  1. The mechanism of action for the class of drug.

  2. Properties or effects that are common to all drugs in the class.

  3. Is (are) the drug(s) the drug of choice for some disorder or symptom?

  4. Name recognition—what drugs are in this class?

  5. Unique features about single drugs in the class.

  6. Are there any side effects (rare or not) that may be fatal?

  7. Drug interactions.

  8. Rare side effects or actions that are common to all drugs in the class.

  9. Rare side effects or actions for single drugs in the class.

  10. Percentage of drug that is metabolized versus renal excretion.

  11. Half-life of each drug in the class.

  12. Teratogenicity of each drug in the class.

  13. Structure of each drug in the class.

This generic trivia sorter will not work for all drug classes. Therefore, for each class I will indicate the way I have organized the attack on the drugs in that group. For example, the mechanism of action of the antiepileptic drugs is not clear, so you will have to skip step 1 and go to step 2. The antiarrhythmic agents are classified and grouped according to their mechanism of action, so that should be the number 1 item you learn.

You can also determine your own trivia level. I would suggest at least through number 6. If you have the time and inclination to learn more details, you will need to consult your favorite textbook.

Because the drug of choice is often very important to know, these drugs are included in the boxes that appear throughout the book. However, these are subject to change, so you should confirm that the drug is still the drug of choice during class or from your textbook. Fatal side effects, even if rare, are important to know for your patients’ safety. I will try to point out some, but others may come up in class or in your textbook. If so, make a note to learn them.

Name recognition is a slightly different matter. From my own experience as well as that of many medical students, when an unfamiliar drug name appears in an exam, panic sets in and the question is usually skipped or answered incorrectly. However, if the drug class is known, often the question becomes simple. I recommend to students who are having trouble with drug name recognition to make flash cards (or lists) with only the drug name on one side and the drug class on the other side. Skip the easy ones. Quiz yourself during breakfast or during breaks between classes. As you learn the drugs, take them off your list or remove the card from the stack. Occasionally put these names back and review all together. If you only get a few more questions right on an examination or on the boards, or have to look up one less drug after rounds, the few minutes that this takes will have been worth it.

 

Drug Monographs

Drug Index (National Institute of Health - USA)

http://www.drugs.com/professionals.html

http://www.pdr.net/browse-by-drug-name

t http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/drugs.aspx?GbosID=133730


 

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