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How to memorize pharm & what to know???

Discussion in 'Step I' started by yanky5, 09.11.06.

  1. yanky5

    yanky5 Senior Member

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    I'm taking the COMLEX later this year and I have real problems memorizing the pharm. It is just so boring with crazy names and stuff so it comes in one ear and out the other. Forget about mechanisms, I can't seem to remember the drug names. I can remember like 100 drugs for a week but then I slowly forget everything. :( I need some good tricks :confused:

    Also, we don't have to know all those drugs in the pharm book, do we (like 2,000 drugs)? I was thinking about knowing the sympathetics, adrenergics, common antibiotics and "first aid" stuff and dropping everything else. Is this a good idea or are we expected to know more? Give some advice. I'm scared of pharm. :scared:
  2. Taus

    Taus . Moderator

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    for class...the level of detail needed depends on your prof.

    for boards....the majority of people say FA is enough on its own...

    how to memorize....create some basic mnemonics to associate the name to the basic mech and distinct sides....knowing your physiology should let you figure out the rest of the drug
  3. Gosha

    Gosha Removed

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    You just need to get a memorizing skill. Forget about what they tought you about your memory. I'm sure that most of it is useless otherwise you wouldn't be posting here. There is a solution – a full fledged memory course that will train your brain with respect to memorizing to the point when not only will you be able to easily memorize large volumes of precise medical data but at the same time have fun with it. Check it out HERE.
  4. Buckeye(OH)

    Buckeye(OH) 5K+ Member

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    Learn the basic drug types - learn the subtypes.


    Simple.
  5. buddindoc

    buddindoc Senior Member

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    Hiya Buckeye..care to elaborate on what u mean.?Subtypes as in what..EXACTLY..I am having serious problems as well
    thanks in advance
    -A LESSER MORTAL-:)
  6. Medpilot

    Medpilot

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    Well you could always get your Step 1 application screwed up like me and have to take it half-way into 3rd year. My pharm skills have gone from next to nothing to decent in a matter of weeks on the wards. If you see it used, you remember it.
  7. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member

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    I don't know if this will help you, but I'll give you my perspective as a pharmacist - this is how I can tell what a new drug is as soon as I see its name (I've been in practice 30 years.)

    Learn the drugs by class - ie diuretics, calcium channel blockers, ace inhibitors, fluoroquinolones, etc....You can learn the pharmacology, general kinetic information, side effect profile all as a class. As you group them by class, you'll see "some" naming consistency (generic names have some basis in the chemical structure, but this is more than what you want....brand names have no nomenclature they go by)......fluoroquinolones ususally end in -oxacin, ca channel blockers usually end in -ine or -il, thiazides - end in -iazide....etc.

    Now, learn the "outliers" & subgroups....

    an outlier would be diltiazem - a ca channel blocker - doesn't sound like nifedipine, felodipine, amlodipine, verapamil, bepridil, etc....you have to know this one on its own

    ethacrynic acid is a loop diuretic & doesn't sound like furosemide, bumetanide, torsemide....you have to know this one one its own

    Learn the characteristics of the class in general...then learn what the outliers of the class are. For example, bepridil is the only ca channel blocker which increases the effective refractory period of the atrium & nimodipine has no effects on the electrophysiology of the heart to any significant degree...

    As far as confusing classes of drugs such as antiarrhythmics...you just have to make a chart & learn, which drugs belong in which subgroup. But...again...if you make the chart, there is ususally some consistency & you just have to learn to outlliers.

    Then....learn which drugs can "cross over" classes - lidocaine for example....it is used as an antiarrhythmic and anesthetic. Gabapentin...is used as an anticonvulsant, antidepressant adjuvant, analgesic adjuvant, etc..You would notice these as you group them in their classes because they would be "outliers".

    I don't know what the "expectation" is of you, but that is how to learn vast numbers of drugs in a short period of time. I hope it helps - good luck!
  8. t33sg1rl

    t33sg1rl Senior Member

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    Sdn1977, would you care to elaborate on who the #$@# hands out drug names? I'm sitting here trying to not to mix up 'disopyramide' and 'dipyridamole' and I'm thinking about a day six years ago, when I painted a room in my house a lovely shade of lavender. The name of the paint was "Sunset Lagoon". I only glanced at the paint chip one time and six years later I don't have any trouble remembering it. Why can't the paint namers get together with the drug namers and help them make drug names more memorable, and more consistent with the English language as a whole? Drug names only use a subset of pronunciation sounds, and so the names seemed to be spliced together from a VERY limited set of syllables, so you get a bunch of drugs that are nearly impossible to learn, like proclocholinum, cloprolinochol, cholproclolinum etc... so tell me where these people are, so I can SHOOT them.

    and now, back to the good 'ol disopyridamoamide... :(
  9. buddindoc

    buddindoc Senior Member

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    hear hear hear....i wouldnt mind going on a shooting spree with you,lemme know if u hear of any names
  10. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: !

    I hear your pain....but....I spent four years learning these so they make sense to me....

    disopyramide - is a cogener of a cinchona alkaloid (the pyramide part) - which leads you to the quinidine, procainamide & .......disopyramide group of antiarrhythmic drugs. They differ in their steric configurations of the secondary alcohol group - the diso- part.....so that tells me what group its in, what the pharmacology is likely to be, side effects, etc (ie - learn quinidine & you've got procainamide & disopyramidine - now just learn the differences).

    The dipyridamole is the "outlier" I was referring to....an oddball.....Its naming is truly derived from its chemical structure...but it doesn't relate to anything in its group since it doesn't really have its own group (its a vasodilator but also affect platelet aggregation - findings which were discovered years apart).

    The generic name is derived from the chemical name. The brand name is "market driven" - what will sink into the prescribers or patient's mentality the best. The brand names have been known to change if there is confusion - has happened many time in recent years. Drug companies have whole department dedicated to brand naming. Most large drug companies actually pay pharmacists to be in focus groups to give input into brand names - they (pharmacists) are usually the ones the most vulnurable to name issues.

    But.....altho it makes sense to me....I get your pain. I could no more hear rales or ronchi nor a click on a doorknob let alone in a heart sound....so I give you my heartfelt best wishes for learning what you can. When in doubt in real practice...you have references - lots of them & there is always a pharmacist you can call.:D That doesn't help with your exam, but my best wishes are with you all.

    Good luck to all of you!!!!!!
  11. t33sg1rl

    t33sg1rl Senior Member

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    Well, I guess I have to be honest and admit that some of my pain is unrelated to the drug names, then. Med students generally don't learn ANY structural information about the drug (other than that lipophilic drugs can enter the brain) so a name like 'disopyramide' that might be informative for a chemist means zilch to a doctor. Also, we have to learn this stuff in four weeks, not four years (granted it's limited to name, mechanism, and use, but that's a lot). Once we get into the hospital and actually see the drugs being used I think they'll be second nature (at least I hope).... like lung crackles, which sounded hard in the text book, but are a slam dunk when you have your stethoscope on someone's back-it really sounds just like a giant bowl of Rice Crispies.
  12. TheFish005

    TheFish005 Senior Member

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    BRS flashcards - learn them, love them. seriously, i was worried about pharm too, but some things that showed up on my COMLEX i *only* knew from the cards and hadn't seen anywhere else. do a section at a time, and slowly build up so you can run through the entire stack by the time you take the exam. also helps to do flash cards in groups.
  13. Taus

    Taus . Moderator

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    Honestly I think that if you are having trouble memorizing pharm then a book like this, site such as medical mnemonics.com and/or getting together w/ some friends to create some mnemonics can work wonders for memorizing it. The process of trying to create the mnemonics is a great way for remembering them. If you take em from various sources and personalize em to your liking it can be really really helpful for memorzing tons of drugs and their stupid chemical names
  14. Buckeye(OH)

    Buckeye(OH) 5K+ Member

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    For example antidepressants.

    The major types are TCAs, SSRIs, MAOIs, and Lithium.

    Than, within the TCAs - know the big ones - Inpramine + Amytryptaline.

    For the SSRIs - know Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Paroxytine, and Fluvoxamine.

    etc etc. Know what each of the major classes does first, than you can commit time to learning the minor differences between the drugs. For example, Paroxytine is different from Fluoxetine and Sertraline because its metabolized much more rapidly and forms no active metabolites.
  15. Davelee

    Davelee New Member

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    Good shot!

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