Each week we compile all the latest pharmacology facts released on our social media platforms. This is great pharmacology for students, as these facts are bite-sized, random, and often important facts that all students of medicine should commit to memory.
- PCSK9 inhibitors (alirocumab and evolocumab) are used to lower LDL cholesterol. Inhibiting PCSK9 prevents degradation of the LDL receptor. The more LDL receptors, the more LDL cholesterol that’s shuttled away.
- HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (that is, statins) lower LDL cholesterol. High doses increase risk of rhabdomyolysis and diabetes.
- Triptans (sumatriptan and zolmitriptan) are used to treat (not prevent) migraines & cluster headaches – they are agonists at 5-HT1B/1D
- Anticoagulants (heparin) prevent clot growth, whereas thrombolytics (alteplase/reteplase) break down clots – they are commonly administered together.
- Interferon beta-1a is used to treat - that is, reduce relapses - in multiple sclerosis. Subcutaneous route commonly causes skin reactions.
- Benzodiazepines are contraindicated in patients with myasthenia gravis. They may also cause respiratory depression (at high doses or IV) – hence why they are used with caution in patients with conditions such as sleep apnoea.
- Antiarrhythmic drugs (Class I, Sodium block): 1a - quinidine, procainamide, disopyramide; 1b - lidocaine, mexiletine; 1c - flecainide, propafenone.
- 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (finasteride, dutasteride) are used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy and androgenic alopecia. Another example of this class, alfatradiol, is used topically to only treat androgenic alopenia in men and women.
- Anthralin is used to treat psoriasis – it slows cell division by disrupting DNA replication (part of which involves disrupting energy production in the mitochondrion). It also temporarily stains skin yellow-brown.
- Permethrin is an insecticide used first-line in the treatment of scabies and lice. It works as a neurotoxin by binding to sodium channels.
Mnemonics and mindmaps are also another great way to commit pharmacology to memory. But if you’d like to learn more about specific drug classes, check out these more detailed articles for more information.
Check out last week's pharmacology facts here!